Who was Sameer Tiger?

A security person stands guard during an encounter between security forces and militants took place at Drabgam in Pulwama District of South Kashmir on Monday. One civilian and Two militants including one of the most wanted ultra Samir Ahmad was killed in the firing. PTI Photo

Hizb-ul-Mujahideen top militant Sameer Tiger, who was killed in an encounter with security forces in the Pulwama area of south Kashmir on Monday, was a close associate of the slain Burhan Wani, the poster boy for militancy in Kashmir who was killed by security forces in 2016.

A native of Pulwama, Tiger was notoriously famous on social media for sporting long hair and his pictures with an American M4 carbine.

Tiger, who picked up arms two months after he was booked for stone-pelting by the Jammu and Kashmir Police on March 2016 at the age of 21, had been trained locally, as most of the modern-day local militants from the Valley are.

He was one among the 11 top militants whose group picture surfaced on social media in early 2016 setting a trend for future militants.

Tiger, along with Saddam Padder, were the only surviving militants from that group up until Monday.

A grade 'A++ category' militant, Tiger was killed hours after he reportedly threatened Major Rohit Shukla of the 44 Rashtriya Rifles in a video which, apparently, was leaked by Hizbul's social media team.

In the last 30 seconds of the video, Tiger reportedly is heard saying, "Maa ka dudh piya hai toh Shukla ko bolo samne aaye [If Rohit Shukla has drank his mother's milk he should face me]." Hours later, they met face-to-face and Tiger was dead.

Major Shukla was injured in the encounter as he suffered two gunshot wounds and has been shifted to 92 Base Hospital in critical condition.

In November last year, Tiger had fled from an encounter site in Budgam taking the cover of the darkness and the heavy stone-pelting in the area.

Police sources said that Tiger was responsible for local recruitment of youth in Hizbul and like Burhan Wani, who used to often feature on the social networking sites, Tiger too was following the same route to lure the youngsters towards militancy.

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