Kashmir violence
Protesters burning tyres in violence-stricken Kashmir valley in IndiaReuters file photo

Abu Dujana, one of the top Islamist commanders in Kashmir, was killed by the Indian security forces during a raid in the early hours on Tuesday, 1 August.

Playing an active role in Kashmir's militancy scene since 2010, 26-year-old Dujana led the local unit of the extremist group, Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) in the restive state of Jammu and Kashmir. Originally from Pakistan, Dujana had mastered the art of hoodwinking armed forces in the Kashmir valley and also masterminded major attacks.

Dujana, who joined the LeT when he just 17, was killed when he tried to visit his wife in Pulwama. He had slipped out of cordons and escaped from the security forces' raids on several occasions. He is thought to be longest surviving foreign militant in Kashmir.

"In the ensuing encounter and exchange of fire, two terrorists were killed. They include Abu Dujana, a top LeT terrorist who had planned and executed major terror actions in south Kashmir," said a statement from the ministry of home affairs.

"He is believed to have replaced Abu Qasim as LeT head of operations in south Kashmir since 2016 after the latter was killed. A local LeT cadre, suspected to be Arif Nabi Dar, also lost his life."

South Kashmir has become a hotbed for militancy for the past one year especially after the death of a local militant commander, Burhan Wani.

Dujana's movements were said to have been restricted due to his injuries, which he suffered from a previous confrontation with security forces. Dujana's death is likely to have a strong impact on the insurgency in the Kashmir valley especially at a time when al-Qaeda has announced a separate wing for Kashmir.

"This is the greatest blow to Lashkar-e-Toiba and to terror outfits in Kashmir, there is no doubt about that," a local security officer involved in the anti-terror operation told CNN-News18.

The Kashmir administration has beefed up security in the region after Dujana's killing and suspended internet/mobile services to prevent the worsening of the situation.