Mubarak! You caught me finally: Abu Dujana's last words to Army officer
Deccan Chronicle| Yusuf Jameel
'Why aren't you surrendering?...You know how bad it is now...Everything is a game,' the officer told Dujana.
Top Lashkar commander Abu Dujana was killed in Pulwama during a joint counter-terror operation carried out by the Jammu & Kashmir police, CRPF and the Army. (Photo: Screengrab)
Srinagar: Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) commander Abu Dujana alias Hafiz, who was killed along with another militant in an encounter with the security forces in Jammu & Kashmir's Pulwama district on Tuesday, had refused to surrender, saying that God will decide his fate.
"Aaj bhi marna hai, kal bhi marna hai (one has to die today or tomorrow)", he responded to the plea of an Army officer made during a phone call.
The Army officer asked Dujana, a Pakistani national who figured on top of a list of "most dangerous terrorists" released by the Army in June this year, to surrender during the 9-minute conversation.
The Army officer tried to persuade him saying, "You have married (a local girl). Think about her, think about yourself". But Dujana denied it.
He said, "Koi shadi nahi ki hai. Sab jhoot hai. Propaganda hai (I’ve not married anyone. It is all falsehood. It is propaganda"). The Army officer then counselled him to think about his parents, who live across the border (in Pakistan). "Think of them, at least," the officer said.
The militant commander quips "They died for me the day I left them". The Army officer tried to reason with Dujana, "But you have not died for them".
Dujana tried to avoid the talk and said that he was speaking to the officer after several years and asked him about his welfare.
"Yeh konsa waqt hai haal chaal poochnay ka (Is this opportune time to ask for each other’s welfare"), the officer asks him and tells him to "end this game". The officer also pleaded with him that times have changed and something has to be done to avoid further bloodshed in Kashmir.
"It is people of Kashmir who are dying", he told him.
Dujana then congratulated the officer for tracking him down eventually. "Kabhi hum aage, aap peechhe; kabhi aap aage, hum peechhe; aaj aapne pakad liya, mubarak ho aapko (sometimes we are ahead, sometimes you are ahead. Today you have caught me, congratulations)."
On this, the officer again pleaded, "Aisa kuch nahi hai (It is nothing like that)". He then told Dujana, "Leave it now. Accept (surrender offer). Nothing (bad) will happen to you. I will take care of it." He, however, cautioned Dujana that the people he was with would also die if he doesn’t surrender. "No one here wants to kill anyone. Maan ley meri baat".
Dujana quipped, "But the person who gave you the information about my presence here wants that I should die." The officer responded "I’m not here. I’m somewhere in Awantipora. Have you ever seen me (being part of a cordon-and-search operation)?" Dujana replied "Yes, I saw you there a number of times".
The officer also told him, "We have no enmity against you. Listen to me and surrender".
Dujana: "Mujhe pata hai tumhari mujh say koi dushmani nahi hai. Laikin mein surrender nahi karsakta. Aap apni duty do, mein apni duty deta hoon. Jo meri qismat mein hoga, Allah wohi karega (I know you don’t keep enmity against me. But I can’t surrender. You do your duty, I will do my duty. God will decide my fate)
Army officer: "God doesn’t wish bad for people. He will be with you. He is with all. He is same for you and for us".
Dujana: "Why are you talking while standing outside? Do come inside".
Army officer: "I’m not outside. I’m somewhere else. If I was outside you would have known that by hearing voices. I’m not here. I’m at a far off place. I’m sitting in Awantipore. It was my area where you are now. I have been to each and every corner of that place. I chased you a lot and that not because of any hatred against you but to perform my duty". "You know what kind of game is being played here".
Dujana: "I know all that is happening here and what the game like it is."
Army officer: "Then why don’t you understand that. This is not jihad that is being fought here. You left home to fight jihad but this is not jihad here. If you come out and make people realize then alone the blood-letting will stop. If you don’t tell them then who will listen to us? You are the main commander and if you don’t tell them about the reality, the Kashmiris will continue to fall prey. Do something and make you mind up".
An unmoved Dujana disconnected the line.
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.
But on Tuesday he was along with a local militant Arif Nabi Dar alias Reehan alias Arif Lalhari trapped in Pulwama’s Hakripora village after the Army along with J&K police’s counterinsurgency Special Operations Group and the CRPF launched an operation at 4 am. As the security forces zeroed in on the militants hideout, the latter opened fire at them triggering the encounter, the officials had said. Later the security forces used explosives, mortars and possibly improvised explosive devices to blow two houses up. A few hours later the charred bodies of Dujana and Arif were retrieved from smouldering debris.
While the body of Arif was handed over to his family and he was subsequently buried in cemetery of his native village Lalhar, that of Dujana is lying in a mortuary and the police had said on Wednesday that it would through Union Home Ministry approach the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi to take it home.