‘Bloodiest Day’: How Indian Media Covered Pulwama Terror Attack
The bloody Pulwama terror attack, the worst in three decades, left the country reeling on Thursday, 14 February.
A day after an improvised explosive device (IED) killed 37 CRPF personnel in a suicide bombing attack in Pulwama, Jammu and Kashmir, India’s biggest national dailies ran their top headlines with the bloody terror attack that left the country reeling on Thursday, 14 February.
With many calling it the worst terror attack on the Valley, highlighting the death toll and the fact that it was a suicide attack, here’s what the papers had to say about the bloody incident.
The Times of India
The Times of India ran their main story on the attack, headlining it ‘Govt blames Pak after local youth rams CRPF convoy with IED-packed SUV in worst terror hit on J&K forces’, focussing on the reaction to the attack by the government.
The report speaks about how India held Pakistan responsible for the Pulwama terror attack after Jaish-e-Muhammed suicide bomber Adil Ahmad Dar rammed his Scorpio into a CRPF convoy, providing details of how the attack was carried out by Dar, along with a profile of the terrorist. It also noted that the attack far surpassed the Uri attack of 2016 in number of casualties, which had led the Modi government to launch the surgical strikes against Pakistan.
The Indian Express
The Indian Express’ top headline called it the ‘worst terror attack on the Valley’, with the main stories talking about the government’s response to the attack, vowing a strong reply to Pakistan. The report also talks about the Jaish and how it has been upping its terror attacks, analysing the reason behind it. It also carries a statement from a witness who told the paper that the blast made the ground shake and tossed people aside.
In an editorial titled ‘The nation mourns’, the paper talks about how the attack, which is the deadliest strike on security forces in three decades, should make the central government and all political parties, “pause and reflect on the grave juncture in Kashmir in which this devastating attack has come.”
It also speaks about how the timing of the attack is a “fraught” one, with parliamentary elections only weeks away, and questions China and Pakistan’s blocking of India’s efforts to have Azhar designated a terrorist at the UN, noting that both Beijing and Islamabad have been silent on the attack.
The Hindustan Times carried a simple, direct headline, stating the death toll after the Valley’s “bloodiest day”. The main report carried all details of the attack, quoting top political leaders such as PM Modi, Congress President Rahul Gandhi as well as the former northern army commander, General DS Hooda.
The report also noted that the PMO had stated that the attack had brought on a ‘war-like’ situation. Along with the main story, the paper also carried a profile of Adil Ahmed Dar.
In an editorial titled ‘Kashmir: The Centre must choose options carefully’, Hindustan Times said that while the government would be tempted to go for a ‘muscular’ response, like the surgical strikes that followed the Uri attack, it should instead ‘weigh its options’ and choose carefully. It further added that the Centre must draw a fine line; while going after the terrorists, it should understand the politics that guide an insurgency and remember the risks to soldiers’ lives in any response.
The Telegraph too went for a straight, to-the-point headline. Their main report stated all the facts of the attack, noting that it was the worst strike in a 30-year insurgency and that it had caused much more damage than any attack on security forces in the Valley before. It also carried details of the attack and quoted PM Modi’s response to the attack and spoke about the government’s stand on Masood Azhar.
The Greater Kashmir, a newspaper from the Valley, covered the details of the attack, noting that a high alert had been sounded across Kashmir after the deadly fidayeen ambush.
It also carried reactions to the deadly attack by top Indian political leaders such as President Kovind, PM Modi, the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir and leaders of the Valley such as Mehbooba Mufti and Farooq and Omar Abdullah.
Rising Kashmir, another newspaper from the Valley, used its headline to highlight the death toll. In multiple stories, it carried facts of the attack, adding that the National Security Guard and the National Investigation Agency were also being brought in to join the probe into the terror attack.
In a small story on the front page, there is a nugget about the pre-recorded video message left by the suicide bomber, Adil Ahmad Dar, where he says that he had “waited a year for this day”.
They also carried a timeline of major militant attacks on the Valley, with details of each.
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