It will be the first time that the Pakistan High Commission is asked to claim the body of a militant killed in Kashmir Valley.
Srinagar: The security forces in riot gear enforced a lockdown in parts of Jammu and Kashmir’s summer capital Srinagar on Wednesday as tensions were running 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 along with a local militant gunned down by the security forces during a fierce encounter in southern Pulwama district on Tuesday, triggering widespread protests in parts of the Valley. Two persons were killed and scores others were injured in the security forces’ firing during the clashes in Pulwama.
Inspector General of Police (Kashmir range) Munir Ahmed Khan on Wednesday quoted as saying the J&K police will approach the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi through the Union Home Ministry to take the body of Dujana.
It will be the first time that the Pakistan High Commission is asked to claim the body of a militant killed in Kashmir Valley. He said he would be writing a letter to the police headquarters, which in turn would approach the Home Ministry to take up the matter with the PHC. “We will ask the Pakistan High Commission in India to take back the body of Abu Dujana, who was a Pakistani national,” Khan said adding that the inmates of the house where he was holed up and subsequently killed had told police that he claimed to be from Karachi. Earlier reports had said that Dujana was a resident of Gilgit-Baltistan region of Jammu and Kashmir under Pakistan’s occupation since 1947.
A large number of Pakistani militants have died in clashes with the security forces in Jammu and Kashmir since the separatist campaign burst into a major violence in 1989-90 and all of them are buried in the State only. It is for the first time in the nearly three decades of turmoil that the J&K police is seeking to send the corpse of a slain Pakistani national to his country. The sources said that the authorities do not want Dujana's funeral should take place in Kashmir keeping in view such events in the past having attracted thousands of people.
While the security forces enforced 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- brought life to a standstill elsewhere in the Valley.
Pulwama and neighbouring districts of Shopian, Kulgam and Anantnag were “very tense” and some parts of Pulwama including Gabarpora village witnessed clashes between irate mobs and the security forces following a local youth who had been injured earlier died in hospital early Wednesday.
On Saturday, 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 remained shut, the Kashmir University announced postponement of all examinations which were scheduled to be conducted on Wednesday. The mobile internet services snapped on Tuesday were restored partially on Wednesday evening. However, the rail services remained suspended “as a precautionary measure” amid rising tensions.