A top Lashkar-i-Toiba (LeT), commander Abu Dujana was killed along with his associate in an encounter with government forces in Pulwama district of South Kashmir during the wee hours on Tuesday.
Police sources said that Dujana, who escaped on numerous occasions despite being trapped during nine years of his stay in Kashmir Valley, was finally killed in the encounter with army, SOG and CRPF at Hakdipora area in Newa village of Pulwama district. Dujana carried an reward of 15 Lakh.
The cordon-and-search operation was launched during pre-dawn hours in the area following a specific information about the presence of Dujana and his associates, a police officer said.
He said that as the joint team was zeroing in on the target house, the militants opened fire which was retaliated, triggering off a gunfight, the official said.
The house in which the militants were trapped has been razed to rubble. Besides, Dujana the government forces killed his associate Arif Lilhari, he said, adding that both the bodies have been recovered.
“LeT chief Commander Abu Dujana of Pakistan alongwith his accomplice killed in Hakripora Pulwama. Huge achievement for police & SF,” tweeted Jammu and Kashmir police.
Pertinently, two houses in the village were blasted by the forces during the gunfight.
Police sources said that Dujana was wanted in over three dozen attacks on government forces and carried a reward of Rs 15 lakh. “He was the most wanted militant commander in the state,” they added.
Post the killing, Inspector General of Police, Kashmir Range, Munir Khan said: “Dujana’s killing is good riddance to a nuisance in the area.”
He was addressing the media with Lt Gen J.S. Sandhu, General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the Army’s 15th Corps.
“Whether or not there are protests and disruptions by protesters during our operations against militants, the security forces will continue their operations,” Khan added
He said the security forces tried to persuade the holed up militants in Hakripora village in Pulwama district on Tuesday to surrender. The local militant who died with Dujana was identified as Arif Lelhari.
“The head of the family of the house where Dujana and Arif were hiding was used to persuade them to surrender. Perhaps because of the presence of Dujana, Arif, a local militant, could not surrender,” the police officer said.
Khan said all the overground operatives who helped militants to carry out the attack on Amarnath pilgrims on July 10 in which eight people were killed had been arrested.
“They are with us and they are singing. We have also seized vehicles involved in the attack. The case has been cracked. It is now only the militants involved in the attack who are to be neutralized.”
Asked about the next militant the security forces were targeting, Khan said: “Every militant active in the Kashmir Valley is our next target.”
Meanwhile, a police spokesman said that acting on a specific information about the presence of militants in Hakripora area of Pulwama District, Pulwama police along with 55 RR, 182 Bn and 183 Bn CRPF launched a cordon and search operation in the area.
During the search operation, militants present in the area fired upon the joint search party. The fire was retaliated, ensuing an encounter. Two LeT terrorists were killed in this encounter who were later identified as Abu Dujana and Arif Nabi Dar @Rehan son of Ghulam Nabi Dar resident of Lelhar, Kakapora.
One person identified as Firduos Ahmad Bhat son of Mohammad Subhan resident of Begumbagh, Kakapora was also injured near the encounter site during the cross firing. He was shifted to hospital for treatment where he succumbed to his injuries.
Both the militants were involved in a number of anti-national and subversive activities. They were involved in grenade attacks on security forces at Kakapora and Police Post Kakapora. They were also involved in killing of Sarpanch Fayaz Ahmad Bhat son of Abdul Ghafar Bhat resident of Kandzal Kakapora.
Dujana was one of the closest associate of Abdul Rehman @ Abu Qasim and were involved in Udhampur attack.
Abu Dujana was instrumental in recruiting the local youth in LeT outfit. He was involved in recruiting Reyaz Ahmad Dar @ Khalid S/O Abdul Aziz Dar R/O Satther Kakapora Pulwama, Arif Nabi Dar @ Rehan R/O Lelhar Kakapora and Ayoub Lone @ Hebtulla R/O Lelhar Kakapora.
He was involved in killing of 02 CRPF personnel at Sangam Bijbehara and attack on police party at Gallander Pampore in which 02 constables of JKAP 11th Bn were martyred. He was also involved in hurling hand grenade upon security forces at Pahoo Awantipora. He was involved in firing on CRPF at Green Tunnel Bijbehara in which several CRPF personnel were injured. Abu Dujana was also a womanizer, the police spokesman added.
He and his associates were involved in firing on security forces in Pulwama, he said.
Arif Nabi Dar @Rehan was involved in four bank robberies at J&K bank branch Arihal, Ratnipora, Nehama and Ellaquai Dehati Bank Wahibugh branch.
Arms and ammunition were also recovered from the encounter site.
The spokesman said that at some places miscreants tried to create disturbances by pelting stones in Pulwama and adjoining areas. While dealing with the situation 10 persons have got injured who are till now stable and undergoing treatment at various hospitals.