Srinagar: The bespectacled man in blue T-shirt and loose trousers looked more a studious college student than a daredevil militant who escaped unhurt a dozen cordons before he was finally killed on August 1 in Pulwama’s Hakripora village. The picture of Lashkar-e-Toiba commander Abu Dujana that went viral on social media weeks ago did not seem to match the Rs 15-lakh bounty on the head of one of Kashmir’s most wanted militants.
“He broke 12 cordons before he was finally caught in Hakripora in Pulwama,” two senior police officers, who monitored the activities of Dujana, told Kashmir Reader. “From some time, the Lashkar had reduced him to a foot soldier due to certain differences with him. But they had not left him. He was still the most significant member of the outfit.”
According to the police officers, Dujana crossed the Line of Control from Pakistan Administered Kashmir (PaK) in the year 2011, and settled down in Dachigam area of Srinagar.
“He was a resident of Gilgit Baltistan, located on the other side of Kashmir. We came to know from his accomplice Naveed alias Hanzullah, who was arrested in Kulgam few years back, about his whereabouts. He and Hanzullah had together undergone training in a Lashkar camp in Pakistan. He came along with four other militants, while Hanzullah crossed into Kashmir in a separate group with six militants,” the police officers said.
“Dujana was the last militant surviving in his group. When Hanzullah was arrested, his one accomplice went back, while the other four were killed in various encounters with the forces,” they added.
After operating in Srinagar’s Dachigam area along with other Lashkar militants, Dujana along with his accomplices carried out multiple strikes in Srinagar against government forces, the police officers said.
“Dujana shifted later to Kulgam area of south Kashmir. He worked in close coordination with Lashkar commander Abu Qasim, who commanded militant operations there,” they added.
Abu Qasim was wholly responsible for recruiting locals and reviving militancy in south Kashmir, the officers said. Abu Qasim took over from Lashkar commander for south Kashmir, Abdul Rehman.
“Rehman was a daring militant. He died in an encounter near Pulwama while fighting the government forces. Qasim was his close associate. Abu Dujana was influenced by both,” the officers said. “Qasim was an excellent strategist. He had the ability to motivate and lead from the front. He was the one who brought in a tactical shift in Lashkar operations by recruiting locals. Dujana was close to him, but was far behind the operational excellence of his commander Qasim.”
“After the death of Abu Qasim in Kulgam, Dujana, who worked as the shadow of the Lashkar commander, took over the reins of Lashkar when there were only three non-local militants surviving in south Kashmir,” the officers revealed.
Informing that they had no idea about his qualifications, the officers said that Dujana was a computer wizard.
“He had excellent knowledge of computer operations. He used social media for operational purposes and to his advantage,” the officers said. “Through his online activities he motivated people to join the outfit.”
His accomplice Arif Lelhari, and other militants like Ayoub, Majid and Reyaz, were recruited by Dujana.
“The number of militants currently operating in south Kashmir is his work,” the officers said. “He indirectly carried out operations against security targets in south Kashmir. He was involved in bank lootings as well. He acted as coordinator between Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar. That is why he became significant and was wanted in a number of cases related to militancy in south Kashmir.”
They said it was only after his marriage at Hakripora a few months back that differences cropped up between the Lashkar and Dujana.
“The Lashkar was not happy with his marriage. They stripped him of his rank and replaced him with Abu Ismail. He remained a member of Lashkar, but with differences. The Lashkar commanders thought he had become diverted after marriage from militant operations,” the officers said.
“There is no doubt that he was angry because of this. He had some loose contact with Zakir Musa. But he had not joined the estranged commander of the Hizb,” they added.
It was after at least a dozen cordons that Dujana was finally caught in Hakripora. “Earlier, he would flee by firing in air. Sometimes, people would help him, and sometimes it was his good luck,” the officers said.
“It was the second or third time he was pinned in Hakripora, the same village where he had married. This time, the operation was delicately carried out. There was no chance of escape for him or his accomplice Arif Lelhari,” they said.