The man who carried out the worst terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir in at least three decades is a 22-year-old school dropout from Gundibagh village in south Kashmir’s insurgency hotbed of Pulwama district, police records and government officials said.
Adil Ahmad Dar, who was given the name of Waqas commandoby militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad, dropped out of class 12 in a local school in Gundibagh in March 2017. The village is barely 10 kilometres from the spot where his car, laden with explosives, rammed into a bus carrying Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel.
In police records, Dar was recorded as a category C militant and after joining militancy in 2018, officials said he was seen with members of terror group Jaish-e-Mohammad, Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Taiba. “He was not any top gun; he was just like any other militant of Pulwama, and went missing in 2018,” said a police officer posted in south Kashmir on the condition of anonymity.
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Before he went missing, Dar occasionally worked at a local joinery mill. His father, Riyaz Ahmad Dar, runs a small shop in the locality. Local villagers said he dropped out of school after his cousin, who was also a militant, was killed in an encounter.
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As news of the suicide attack spread, people gathered in Gundibagh and organised a funeral for Dar.
They prevented government officials from reaching the spot.
Dar is the third local “fidayeen” (suicidal) militant recruited by the Jaish-e-Mohammad for a big suicide attack. A militant named Fardeen Ahmad Khan, 16, of Tral was killed on December 31, 2017, when he, along with three foreign militants, sneaked into the CRPF training centre at Lethpora and killed five personnel.
Afaq Ahmad Shah,17, was the first local fidayeen who blew up an explosive-laden vehicle outside the 15 Corps headquarters at Badami Bagh on the outskirts of Srinagar, in early 2000, that killed eight troopers. He too was affiliated with Jaish-e-Mohammad.
Shortly after the attack, a video clip of Dar started circulating on social media in Kashmir, in which the young militant, carrying a weapon, is heard reciting a poem in Urdu — “Get ready and step forward fast, the destiny is not far and the men of Jaish are waiting for you. It is not the time to talk only, get up as it is not the time to be in dreams, the moment demands practitioners on ground, please forgive me but it is not the time for beautiful speeches.”