PULWAMA: It was about midnight when the phones of security officials buzzed. The information was clear and reliable -- Lashkar-e-Taiba's Kashmir chief Abu Dujana was holed up inside a house in the vicinity.
The tip came from a trusted source and there was no time to lose, said officials, recapping the dramatic events of the night long operation that led to the killing of Dujana and an accomplice here today.
Crack teams of the Special Operations Group (SOG) were quickly mobilised and moved towards Hakripura, adjacent to Neva, a bastion for LeT militants located 13 km from the district headquarters of Pulwama, they said.
Deputy Inspector General (South Kashmir) Swayam Prakash Pani lost no time in reaching the spot and personally supervised the operations in the village, where security forces faced stone pelting protesters and had to evacuate civilians inside the house.
Dujana, whose real identity was unknown, other than the fact that he was from Pakistan, had escaped the police dragnet more than 12 times earlier, officials who were part of the operation said 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.
The first task was to clear the area of civilians as the house -- where Dujana had taken refuge along with another LeT militant, Arif Bhat -- was located inside a densely populated colony, officials said.
The next step was to safely evacuate those inside the house.
As militants inside opened fire, the first entry into the house was made by SOG personnel. Six people were rescued by providing cover fire, officials recounted.
Dujana and Bhat were killed in the exchange of fire that followed.
Soon, armed militants appeared in the crowd and began fired at security personnel engaged in the operations after realising that the two LeT leaders had been killed, they said.
The operation, which was conducted in the dead of the night, was over by about 6.30 am, with the first rays of sunlight.
While Dujana, who was staying in the house, had told the inmates of the house that he was from Karachi, Bhat was a local boy from Lellhar in Pulwama, the officials said.
An A+++ category militant, Dujana had taken over the reins of the Lashker-e-Taiba in the Kashmir Valley after the group's divisional commander Abu Qassim was killed in 2013. He also carried a cash reward of Rs 10 lakh.