Abu Dujana, associate killed; One civilian shot dead in Pulwama encounter

  • Kashmir head’s death deals body blow to LeT
  • Dujana’s killing ‘good riddance to a nuisance’: IGP
  • He was not involved in many militancy acts; he was more of enjoying himself: GOC 15 corps
  • Anti-militancy operations to continue irrespective of civilian protests’

In a major setback to Lashkar-e-Toiba, the militant outfit’s Kashmir chief, Abu Dujana was killed along with his associate, Arif Nabi Dar in an encounter in Hakripora area of Pulwama district on Tuesday morning.
According to the police spokesman, a joint party of J&K Police, 55 RR of Army, 182 Bn and 183 Bn CRPF launched a cordon and search operation in Hakripora area following information about presence of militants in the area. “During the search operation, militants fired upon the joint search party. The fire was retaliated, triggering the encounter in which the two militants were killed,” he said.
Dujana, 27, carried a bounty of Rs 15 lakh on his head. He was listed among the top 12 militants in Kashmir by army and was involved in several attacks on forces.
Categorized as A militant he was among the longest surviving Pakistani militant in Kashmir and had crossed over to this side in 2005 for the first time. Since then, he had managed to go back to Pakistani side on several occasions.
Dujana had also managed to give slip to the forces on several occasions in the past.
Recently on July 19, Dujana managed to give slip to the forces in Banderpora, Koil area of Pulwama district. He was travelling with his associates when the forces followed their Sumo cab and tried to intercept them. The militants managed to flee after opening volley of bullets towards the armoured vehicle of the forces. If police sources are to be believed, Dujana was injured in the incident and he had gone to Srinagar for getting treatment on several occasions since then.
“Dujana frequented Srinagar since July 19 incident for treatment as he had received a bullet injury. The forces were keeping track of his movement and that’s what led to several cordons in Srinagar area during last many days,” said a police source.
Arif Dar alias Arif Lelhar hailed from Lelhar area of Pulwama district and had joined the outfit some two years back.
Meanwhile, terming the killing of Abu Dujana as “good riddance to a nuisance”, Inspector General of Police (Kashmir Zone), Munir Ahmad Khan said he and his associates had established stronghold in certain areas.
Addressing a joint press conference with General Officer Commanding (GOC) of Army’s 15 Corps, Lt Gen J.S. Sandhu at Army’s Victor Force headquarter, Awantipora, IGP Khan said, “Dujana had become more of a nuisance in the area. He could enter any house and do whatever he wanted.”
“Both the militants were notorious and important in a way that they had established their strong hold in certain areas due to coercion so it had become imperative to neutralise them,” he said.
The IGP said the forces tried hard to make the militant duo surrender “but instead they fired at forces”.
“Announcements were made on mosque loudspeakers and we tried to utilise the service of house holder to impress upon militants to surrender. Perhaps because of the presence of Dujana, Arif, a local militant, could not surrender. They started firing and the quantum of firing was very heavy which was retailed in which both the militants were killed,” Khan said, adding that bodies of slain militants were identified properly after the operation was over.
He said a civilian, Firdous Ahmad of Begumbagh was killed while five to six people were injured due to pellets and two were injured due to bullets.
“Initially, in spite of our warnings and requests I have been repeatedly saying that people at the behest of militants, may be due to coercion, tend to come between the operating parties (forces and militants). That is how they get injured and killed,” IGP said adding that today it happened in the same manner.
“We lost a civilian life; regrettable but it could have been avoided had the people stayed inside and let forces do their job,” he said.
The Kashmir police chief said that the slain militants were involved in weapon snatching, looting and killing of Sarpanch Fayaz Ahmad.
However, speaking on the occasion, GOC Chinar Corps, Lt Gen J S Sandhu said Dujana was not involved in too many operations.
“He was A category militant. In his operation capability in the last one year or so, he was not involved in too many operations,” Sandhu told reporters.
“He (Dujana) was more of a nuisance and was involved in coercion and not in many militancy acts. He was more of enjoying himself here,” GoC said.
Lt Gen Sandhu said the leadership of LeT has been affected and that Army keeps hunting for militant commanders.
“Of course, we will now keep hunting for other militant leaders in this area as our aim is to keep clearing them out as soon as possible,” he said.
The corps commander said as forces closed in and spoke to house owner it was learnt that militants were not allowing the family members to come out.
“Couple of hours after talking to them, all the family members came out. After that operation was launched and within a couple of hours two militants were killed,” he said.
Meanwhile, IGP Kashmir said anti-militancy operations will continue irrespective of civilian protests and disruptions.
“I again take this opportunity to appeal people not to interfere in anti-militancy operations because the operations against militants will carry on whether or not there is a stone pelting, disruption or no disruptions. The operation will go on whenever we get information about presence of militants in any house or area,” Khan said.
“We are trying to make them surrender, but if they refuse and fire on forces then the only reply is to retaliate. That is what is being done,” he added.