PulwamaTop Lashkar-e-Taiba commander in Kashmir Abu Dujana was killed in an encounter with the government forces in Hakripora village in Pulwama district in South Kashmir early Tuesday, reports said.
Dujana, a resident of Pakistan controlled Kashmir, was killed along with Arif Ahmad, a resident of Lelhar village in Pulwama district, according to these reports.
Dujana, who escaped on numerous occasions despite being trapped during nine years of his stay in Kashmir Valley, was finally killed in the encounter with army, SOG and CRPF at Hakripora village of Newa in Pulwama district.
The cordon-and-search operation was launched during pre-dawn hours in the area following a specific information about the presence of Dujana and his associates, a police officer said.
As the joint team was zeroing in on the target house, the militants opened fire which was retaliated, triggering off a gunfight, the official said.
The house in which the militants were trapped has been razed to rubble.
People in large numbers assembled near the encounter site and were pelting stones at security forces. Fierce clashes between residents and forces broke out soon afterwards, the reports said.
The search operation which started at approximately 4:30 am ended a couple of hours later after forces blasted the house, where from militants were puting up resistance. The house was blasted with mortars.
Bodies of the slain militants have been recovered,said a police official said adding the operation has now been called off.
A resident of Gilgit-Baltistan, 27-year-old Abu Dujana was the Divisional Commander of the Lashkar-e-Taiba. As of February 2017, he was reportedly carrying a cash reward of Rs 1.5 million on his head. Dujana joined the militant outfit when he was just 17 years old. He was evading Indian forces for last nine years and was active in South Kashmir.
He is the third top militant leader killed in Kashmir since last year. Hizbul Mujahideen leaders Burhan Wani and Sabzar Bhat were killed by armed forces earlier.
Protests and clashes
Large number of people assembled near the encounter site soon after the news of militants getting trapped in military cordon spread. Soon clashes broke out between the two sides.
At least 15 protesters have sustained injuries during the intense clashes between protesters and armed forces near and around the encounter site in Hakripora village, police sources from Pulwama district said.
The police and paramilitary CRPF used tear smoke shells and fired live ammunition to disperse the protesters.
In the incident, a youth namely Jehangir Ahmad of Kakpora received bullet injuries and at least six others sustained pellet wounds.
All the injured have been hospitlised.
When reports last came in, the fierce clashes amid pro-freedom slogans were going on in parts of the southern district.
Meanwhile, in the wake of fresh militant killings, authorities have blocked internet services, including 2G/3G/4G in Pulwama district.
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