August 2017 News

LeT Chief Abu Dujana, Associate Killed In Pulwama

1 August 2017
The Daily Excelsior
Fayaz Bukhari

Srinagar: The most wanted militant in Kashmir and chief commander of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), Abu Dujana, and his associate were killed in an encounter by security forces in Pulwama district of South Kashmir today. The killing triggered clashes across Kashmir in which one protester was killed and dozens were injured forcing authorities to shutdown schools and colleges and mobile internet and train services. Sources said that police was tracking his movement for long especially his meeting with wife. They tracked the pattern of his meeting with wife several times before they launched operation against him when he came to meet her last night at Hakripora in district Pulwama. Sources said that a police team was tracking him in civvies and when he went inside the house, police asked for reinforcements to conduct operation against the most wanted militant, Abu Dujana. Led by Jammu and Kashmir Police, a joint cordon and search operations was launched by 55 Rashtriya Rifles of Army and 182 and 183 Battalions of Central Reserve Police Force at around 4.30 am. As the joint team was zeroing in on the target house, Dujana and his associate opened fire which was retaliated, triggering off a gunfight. The house in which the militants were trapped was razed to rubble. Dujana and his associate Arif Lilhari were killed after an encounter, which lasted for few hours. Police said that Dujana was 'chief operating commander' of LeT. They said that acting on a specific information about the presence of militants in Hakripora area of Pulwama District, Pulwama police along with 55 RR and 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,' he said, adding that two LeT militants were killed in this encounter who were later identified as Abu Dujana and Arif Nabi Dar alias Rehan son of Ghulam Nabi Dar resident of Lelhar, Kakapora. Police said that the duo was involved in killing of Sarpanch Fayaz Ahmad Bhat son of Abdul Ghaffar Bhat, resident of Kandzal Kakapora. 'They were involved in grenade attacks on security forces at Kakapora and Police Post Kakapora. Both the militants were also involved in a number of other anti-national and subversive activities,' he said. The police said that Dujana was one of the closest associate of Abdul Rehman alias 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 alias Khalid of Satther Kakapora Pulwama, Arif Nabi Dar alias Rehan of Lelhar Kakapora and Ayoub Lone alias Hebtulla of Lelhar Kakapora. He was involved in killing of two CRPF personnel at Sangam Bijbehara and attack on police party at Gallander Pampore in which 2 constables of JKAP were killed. Police said that 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. He and his associates were involved in firing on security forces in Pulwama. Arif Nabi Dar alias Rehan was involved in four bank robberies at J&K Bank branch Arihal, Ratnipora, Nehama and Ellaquai Dehati Bank Wahibugh branch. A resident of Gilgat-Baltistan area of Pakistan occupied Kashmir, Dujana infiltrated into Kashmir in 2010 and was active since then. He replaced Abu Qasim as divisional commander of LeT after he was killed by security forces in 2015. He was carrying a cash reward of Rs 15 lakh and slipped out of security forces cordon at least 5 times. Protests broke out at several places across Kashmir valley against the killing of Dujana and his associate in which one civilian was killed and dozens others were injured. Soon after the news about Dujana's killing spread, hundreds of people took to streets in several areas of Pulwama including in Kakapora. The protesters pelted stones on security forces who retaliated firing teargas, pellets and bullets. One person identified as Firduos Ahmad Bhat son of Mohammad Subhan of Begumbagh, Kakapora was hit by bullet during clashes near encounter site. He was rushed to the hospital where he succumbed. Police, however, said that he was killed in cross firing. Bhat's killing triggered more protests in the area. The clashes intensified and spread to Pulwama Town where security forces fired pellets injuring several protesters. The students of various educational institutes also took to streets and pelted stones on police. Students of Kulgam College, Kashmir University, SSM College, Amar Singh College, SP School, Kothibagh Girls School, Womens College MA Road, GDC Bemina, Handwara College, Islamia College Hawal and Anantnag College came out of the colleges, held protests and pelted stones on Police and CRPF. The clashes were also reported from Chadoora in Budgam and in Bijbehera. There was spontaneous shutdown in parts of Pulwama, Pampore, Kulgam and Anantnag. In Srinagar, clashes between students and police in Lal Chowk, Exchange Road, Abi Guzar, Regal Chowk and adjoining areas created panic and chaos. Police used teargas in city centre to disperse the student protesters. Some protesters were also detained by police. Due to clashes, shops and commercial establishments remained closed in parts of Lal Chowk. As the protests spread, authorities ordered suspension of mobile internet services across Kashmir. The colleges and schools were closed for two days in Kashmir. An order issued by the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir said that all the colleges and schools of Kashmir valley shall remain closed on August 1 and 2 as a precautionary measure. 'All the Kashmir University examinations scheduled for tomorrow have been postponed', a spokesman of the varsity said. The train services between Banihal and Baramulla were also suspended by Railways as a precautionary measures to prevent damage to the infrastructure. The Hurriyat Conference called for a Valley wide shutdown against the killings in Pulwama. Meanwhile, thousands of people attended the funeral prayers of civilian Firdous Ahmad and militant Arif Lelhari at their respective villages during which protests broke out. 'Dujana was not involved in too many operations, he was more of a nuisance. He was more involved in coercion and not many in terms of terrorist acts. So, he was only enjoying himself here. That is the way I look at it,' Lt Gen J S Sandhu, Corps Commander of the Srinagar-based Chinar Corps, told reporters at Awantipora in Pulwama district. But the leadership of the LeT has been affected and we, of course, will keep hunting for other militants in this area, he added. Our aim is clearing them out as soon as possible, Sandhu said, flanked by Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kashmir, Munir Khan. Lt Gen Sandhu said the security forces received the information about the presence of two terrorists in Hakripora area of Pulwama in the early hours today. The senior Army official said Dujana was the LeT chief of Kashmir and 'a category A++ militant'. Dujana has also been described as a category 'A' militant by some officials. He was a foreign terrorist, a Pakistani, Sandhu said. Another terrorist, Arif Nabi Dar, who was also a wanted terrorist involved in a number of bank robberies and weapon snatching incidents, was also killed, he said. Terming Dujana's killing as 'good riddance', IGP Khan claimed he had become an eye-sore for everybody, especially girls. 'He used to enter any house and do anything he wanted to do. Good riddance that way. I think people should relax, the girls, our sisters, they should relax now that no such person is there to harass them,' Khan said. He said both the killed militants were notorious and had established strongholds in certain areas through coercion and threats. It had become imperative to neutralise them in the interest of peace and safety of general masses, he said. The IGP said the security forces tried hard to make the militants surrender. 'Announcements were made from mosques and we tried to utilize the services of the house owner and the persons who came out of the house to impress upon them to surrender. But, because of Dujana's presence, the other fellow could also not surrender,' Khan said. Khan said that anti-militancy operations would continue despite stone pelting or disruptions. '(Stone) pelting or no pelting, disruptions or no disruptions, the operations will go on whenever we get information of militants, armed militants rather, in a house or in an area, the operations are to be launched,' he said. An attempt is made to make the militants surrender but if they don't and start firing on our forces, the only reply is to retaliate, he said. He said that a civilian had also lost his life. 'It could have been avoided if the people stayed inside and had let the security forces do their job, these things would not have happened. I again appeal to the people, because the operations will carry on,' Khan said.

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