In March 2019, two militants were killed during a siege at a house in Nowgam, on the outskirts of Srinagar. One of them was known simply as 'Idrees Bhai'. The encounter was forgotten for the most part, until investigators came upon a mangled phone that had been destroyed by Idrees Bhai. When the Samsung smartphone began to reveal its secrets, investigators realized they had hit upon a motherlode. For, Idrees Bhai was none other than Umar Farooq Alvi, the mastermind of the Pulwama suicide attack of February 2019 which had killed forty CRPF personnel, the deadliest terror attack on Indian security forces since 1989.
Now, for the first time, serving IPS officer Danesh Rana meticulously pieces together the conspiracy behind the attack. Based upon personal interviews with the protagonists, police chargesheets and other evidence, Rana breaks down the modern face of militancy in Kashmir, fuelled by highly motivated young Kashmiris who have taken on the mantle of bringing down the Indian state.
This is the story of a state in conflict, told through the story of a single terror attack. Piecing together the stories of several actors - from Umar the boy-wonder insurgent to Insha, the love of his life; from Adil Dar, the man who rammed a van full of explosives into the CRPF bus to Head Constable Jaimal Singh, the driver of that ill-fated bus - As Far as the Saffron Fields is by far the most definitive book on the Pulwama attack, going where no book on the Kashmir conflict has gone before. This is war at its worst, tearing apart families and dreams, leaving only mangled bodies and phones behind.