"This terror group is led by the worldwide terrorist Masood Azhar, who has been given full freedom by Government of Pakistan to operate and expand his terror infrastructure in territories under the control of Pakistan and to carry out attacks in India and elsewhere with impunity". He said one bus was destroyed and at least five other vehicles were damaged by the blast. The attack took place after a suicide bomber in a Mahindra Scorpio auto loaded with 350 kilograms of explosives rammed into a convoy carrying over 2500 CRPF troops on the Srinagar-Jammu Highway.
The powerful explosion, which reduced the bus to a mangled heap of iron, was heard many kilometres away, including in some parts of Srinagar adjoining Pulwama district. "The explosive was car-borne", CRPF spokesman Sanjay Kumar told AFP.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said there was "incontrovertible evidence" of Pakistan's hand in the assault Thursday on a convoy in Indian-controlled Kashmir which killed at least 40 paramilitary personnel. "I strongly condemn this dastardly attack".
As news of the magnitude of the attack came in, political leaders from across the spectrum spoke out in condemnation and to condole the deaths of the security personnel. "The entire nation stands shoulder to shoulder with the families of the fearless martyrs", he said.
BJP President Amit Shah has termed the terror attack on CRPF personnel in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district as an act of cowardice.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday promised a "strong response" to a vehicle bombing in Kashmir that killed 44 paramilitary soldiers that his government blamed on Pakistan, ratcheting up tensions between the two countries.
"This terror group is led by global terrorist Masood Azhar, who has been given full freedom by Government of Pakistan to operate and expand his terror infrastructure in territories under the control of Pakistan and to carry out attacks in India and elsewhere with impunity", MEA statement said.
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Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in a press briefing said that Modi's cabinet had chose to initiate steps to ensure complete diplomatic isolation of Pakistan.
Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, two former chief ministers of Jammu and Kashmir, also condemned the attack on Twitter.
"We denounce terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and reiterate the need to combat these inhuman acts with a decisive and collective response without any double standards", a Russian embassy statement said. A resident of Kakapora, he had joined the "terror outfit" previous year.
The Greater Kashmir newspaper reported that militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed claimed responsibility for the attack. The terrorist mindset must be removed along with the terrorist infrastructure on the ground, said noted Hindu scholar David Frawley.
He sends "a message for north Kashmir, central Kashmir, and Jammu", by reminding them that people in south Kashmir have been fighting against India and that it is now time for them to join in.
In a press statement on Friday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that government of Nepal strongly condemn the terrorist attack and extend heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims as well as the Government and people of India. Islamabad has urged the global community to fulfill its moral and legal obligation by giving Kashmiris the chance to realize their inalienable right to self-determination in accordance with the Security Council resolutions.