Security forces on Tuesday gunned down Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) commander Abu Dujana in an encounter in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district, according to media reports. Dujana, an LeT divisional commander, hadgiven security forces the slip five times.
Dujana hailed from Gilgit Baltistan, which is a part of Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK). Dujana joined LeT when he was 17.
Dujana’s routine of meeting his wife, and sometimes other women, was known to the security forces. In fact, Kashmir zone IGP Munir Khan told the media that he had become an “eyesore” for many locals because he would “barge into any house and did whatever he wanted to”, and that “he was a threat for the girls of the area”.
Dujana first infiltrated into India in 2010 after which he developed LeT’s network across Jammu and Kashmir, especially south Kashmir, which has been a hotbed of militancy since the past year. According to this report, in 2014 Dujana had turned up at a funeral of a militant in Kakpora area of Pulwama.
Termination of LeT’s Kashmir chief Abu Dujana
The intelligence agencies had reportedly informed the security forces that Dujana would visit his wife around July 3 to August 1. As expected, he arrived at the residential complex, but went to a different house in the neighbourhood. It was here that he was killed by the security forces along with his accomplice Arif Nabi Dar, alias Arif Lilhaari.
Security forces got information about the location of Lashkar-e-Taiba’s Kashmir chief Abu Dujana at midnight. He was told be hiding in a house in the vicinity. The tip coming from a local source was enough to pin point Dujana and his eventual killing along with his accomplice.
According to a news report by Economic Times, Crack teams of the Special Operations Group (SOG) were quickly mobilised and moved towards Hakripura, adjacent to Neva, a bastion for LeT militants located 13 km from the district headquarters of Pulwama.
Deputy Inspector General (South Kashmir), Swayam Prakash Pani reached the spot and personally supervised the operations in the village where security forces faced stone pelting protesters and had to evacuate civilians inside the house.
Dujana, whose real identity was unknown, other than the fact that he was from Pakistan, had escaped the police dragnet more than 12 times earlier, officials who were part of the operation said on condition of anonymity.
Pulwama district police along with the SOG, army personnel from Victor Force and 182-182 battalion of the CRPF put in place an impregnable cordon, isolating the area where the operations were on, they said.
The first task was to clear the area of civilians as the house- where Dujana had taken refug .along with another LeT militant, Arif Bhat- was located inside a densely populated colony, officials said.
The next step was to safely evacuate those inside the house.
As militants inside opened fire, the first entry into the house was made by SOG personnel. Six people were rescued by providing cover fire, officials recounted.
Dujana and Bhat were killed in the exchange of fire that followed.
Soon, armed militants appeared in the crowd and began fired at security personnel engaged in the operations after realising that the two LeT leaders had been killed, they said.
The operation, which was conducted in the dead of the night, was over by about 6.30 am, with the first rays of sunlight.
The inmates in the house, which included Dujana’s wife and her parents, were told to leave. The family was then asked to persuade the Pakistani to surrender. He refused, triggering the gun battle.
While Dujana, who was staying in the house, had told the inmates of the house that he was from Karachi, Bhat was a local boy from Lellhar in Pulwama, the officials said.
The police said Dujana had broken loose from the LeT in last few months after which he established close proximity with Zakir Musa, who was recently appointed the head of Al Qaeda terror outfit in the Kashmir Valley.
An A+++ category militant, Dujana had taken over the reins of the Lashker-e-Taiba in the Kashmir Valley after the group’s divisional commander Abu Qassim was killed in 2013. He also carried a cash reward of Rs 10 lakh.