Srinagar: The security forces in riot gear on Wednesday enforced a lockdown in parts of Jammu and Kashmir’s summer capital Srinagar as tensions run high in the aftermath of the killing of Abu Dujana, a top commander of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).
Dujana alias Hafiz, a Pakistani national, was gunned down by the security forces during a fierce encounter in southern Pulwama district on Tuesday, triggering widespread protests in parts of the Valley. Another militant was also killed in the encounter.
Two people were killed and scores others were injured in the security forces’ firing during the clashes in Pulwama.
While the security forces are enforcing curfew-like restrictions in seven police station areas of Srinagar, a shutdown called by an alliance of key separatist leaders – Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik – has brought life to a standstill elsewhere in the Valley.
Pulwama and neighbouring districts of Shopian, Kulgam and Anantnag are “very tense” but no fresh incident of violence has taken place in the area, the officials said.
On Tuesday, a civilian driver Firdous Ahmed Bhat, a resident of Pulwama’s Begumpora, Kakapora village, was killed when hit by a bullet in the chest during intense protests in the area, the witnesses and hospital sources had said.
A statement issued by the police later, however, said that the civilian was injured near the encounter site in the crossfire and later died in hospital.
Scores of others including several police and CRPF personnel were injured in the clashes.
One of them identified as Akeel Ahmed Bhat, who had received a bullet in the abdomen, succumbed in a Srinagar hospital on Wednesday morning, the officials said.
Dujana figured at number one in the list of “most dangerous terrorists” released by the Army in June this year.
The officials termed his killing as a “huge achievement” of the J&K Police and the security forces combating a three-decade old militancy in the State and a “good riddance to a nuisance in the area”.
He carried a cash reward of Rs. 1.5 million on his head. The other militant killed with him was Arif Nabi Dar alias Rehan alias Arif Lalhari, a local Kashmiri.
Dujana had escaped several such operations in the past. During one of these, his close associate Abu Okasha who was allegedly involved in the August 5, 2015 ambush on a BSF convoy near the garrison town of Udhampur was among those killed in Pulwama’s Padgam Pora-Wandakpora village in March this year.
On June 1, the Army had released a list of top 12 militants active mainly in Jammu and Kashmir's southern districts, falling in two categories of ‘A’ and ‘A++’ and belonging to the Hizb-ul-Mujahedin (HM), Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM).
Abu Dujana, alias Hafiz (LeT Divisional Commander, South Kashmir), was listed under the A++ category and the Army had also said that he is based out of Pakistan and has been active since December 14, 2014. It had also said that getting these militants dead or alive is the top priority of the Army.
As Dujana’s killing sparked off protests in the Valley and at some places including Srinagar students also took to the streets and subsequently clashed with the police and the CRPF, the authorities ordered closure for all educational institutions.
While these institutions remain shut, the Kashmir University has announced postponement of all examinations which were scheduled to be conducted on Wednesday. Also the mobile internet services have been snapped and the rail services are suspended “as a precautionary measure” amid rising tensions.