Abu Dujana, top Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) commander and a Pakistani national wanted in connection with many attacks on security forces, was on Tuesday gunned down along with his aide in an encounter in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district, the Army said. The counter-militancy operation was however met with some resistance as over 100 protesters pelted stones on security officials. An Army official, giving details of the operation, said that security forces launched a search and cordon operation in Hakripora area of Pulwama last night on Monday after rececing a tip-off about the presence of Abu Dujana and his local aide, Arif Lilhaari, in the area. Subsequently, a fierce encounter broke out between the militants and security forces earlier today. During the gunbattle, both the militants were killed.
The operation has been called off even as the bodies of the slain militants have been recovered, the official said. Abu Dujana, who is a hard core militant, was wanted in many militancy-related attacks on security forces and political workers primarily in south Kashmir. Also Read: Who is Abu Dujana?
Clashes erupt at Abu Dujana encounter site in Pulwama
After the encounter, several protesters pelted stones at security forces near the encounter sit in Pulwama, in which at least one person was killed and several other were injured, police said. Although there was no official statement on the identity of the deceased, locals who had transported him to the hospital said his name was Firdous Ahmad. In an official statement to the media, the police official said: “One person with fire arm injuries was brought dead at Pulwama district hospital.” The official also added that over 100 “miscreants” began pelting stones at security forces at the encounter site in Hakripora area of Pulwama.
Security forces resorted to tear smoke shells, pellets and a few live rounds to disperse the stone-pelting protesters. While the security forces were retreating after the encounter, few protesters pelted stones at them. To this, the security forces responded by opening fire, resulting in injuries to two persons including a nurse working inside the hospital, the official said. There were several reports of protests breaking out from other parts of the city as well.
Munir Khan, IG Kashmir, said that operations against terrorists will continue. In a statement to ANI, Khan said: “Stone pelting or no pelting, disruptions or no disruptions, our operations will continue. In spite of our warnings and requests, people on behest of terrorists tend to come in between encounter, and that is how they get injured or killed.”
Internet services suspended after encounter of LeT militant Abu Dujana
Meanwhile, internet services were suspended across Kashmir as a precautionary measure in the wake of clashes after the killing of Abu Dujana and his aide. Police said mobile Internet has been suspended across the Valley to prevent miscreants from resorting to unnecessary propaganda. Mobile Internet services were suspended across platforms such as 2G, 3G and 4G. Even though broadband Internet services on landlines were functional, the speed has been choked to prevent uploading of videos and large images.
Following the protests, authorities also suspended class work in nearly all educational institutions across Kashmir after the encounter of Abu Dujana , Divisional Commissiner of Kashmir Baseer Ahmad Khan told news agency PTI that all colleges, schools, and universities have been closed for the day. Khan told PTI that he has issued the order for the closure of schools, colleges and universities as a precautionary measure in view of the current situation.
NC leader Farooq Abdullah congratulates security forces after Abu Dujana encounter
The encounter of LeT’s Abu Dujana has come as a big achievement for the security forces as he was an A++ category terrorist. J Sandhu, General officer Commanding (GoC) 15 corps, was quoted by news agency ANi as saying: “He was not really involved in many attacks, he was just having fun. Basically, he was just a nuisance.” Jammu and Kashmir National Conference leader and former state chief minister Farooq Abdullah congratulated the security forces for killing Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) chief commander Abu Dujana today: “I hope the security forces continue to do such good work, so that there is peace and calm in the state.”
Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju also echoed Abdullah’s statement even as he hailed security forces for their prompt action. “The security forces are taking proper action, be it in Jammu and Kashmir or in some other part of the country, and they are taking firm steps in respective cases,” Rijiju told reporters outside Parliament.
Dujana, whose real identity was unknown, other than the fact that he was from Pakistan, had escaped the police net more than 12 times earlier, officials who were part of the operation told PTI 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.