A top Pakistani militant who carried a reward of Rs 15 lakh on his head was killed by security forces when he was visiting his Indian wife in a village in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district.
The Jammu and Kashmir Police, which had apparently been tracking the militant, called the killing of Abu Dujana, whom they described as the Lashkar-e-Taiba commander active in southern Kashmir since 2012 as a “huge achievement”.
His local accomplice who died with him in Hakripora village was identified as Arif Lalihaari. “(A) huge achievement for the police and security forces,” the police tweeted on Tuesday.
Dujana, a resident of Gilgit-Baltistan region in the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, was said to be responsible for a number of attacks on Indian security forces, including the August 2015 Udhampur strike that left two Border Security Force troopers dead and 12 injured.
“The killing of Abu Dujana and Lalihaari is a big success for the security forces and a huge setback to terrorist activities in south Kashmir,” a police official said.
Addressing the media with Lt Gen J.S. Sandhu, General Officer Commanding of the Army’s 15th Corps, Inspector General of Police Munir Khan said: “Dujana’s killing is good riddance to a nuisance.”
Acting on information about the presence of Dujana and Lalihaari, security forces surrounded the village at about 3 a.m. on Tuesday and the house.
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.
“The operation ended after bodies of the two militants were recovered from the site and identified,” the police officer said.
Two houses in the village were destroyed in the gunfight.
Meanwhile, clashes broke out between the security forces and stone-pelting protesters as news of Dujana’s death spread.
Three protesters were admitted to hospitals with bullet injuries and several others sustained pellet injuries in the clashes.
Authorities have suspended Internet services in south Kashmir. Train services between Baanihal town in Jammu region and Baramulla in the Kashmir Valley were also suspended.
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.
Dujana was replaced by Abu Muhammad Ismail as the Divisional Commander of the LeT, a Pakistan-based group that masterminded the 2008 Mumbai terror attack that killed 166 Indians and foreigners.
Ismail had carried out the July 10 attack on an Amarnath Yatra bus in Anantnag district which killed eight pilgrims.
Khan added: “Whether or not there are protests and disruptions by protesters during our operations against militants, the security forces will continue their operations.”
Both Khan and Lt Gen Sandhu said Dujana was now mostly indulging in “ayyashi” (debauchery) more than anything else.
Khan said all the overground operatives who helped terrorists 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.” (IANS)