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Poster Boy of Kashmiri Militancy Killed in Encounter Day After Challenging Army Major to Gunfight

One civilian teenager – Shahid – was also killed during the encounter and two army personnel, including a major, were injured in the encounter.

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Updated:April 30, 2018, 4:28 PM IST
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Poster Boy of Kashmiri Militancy Killed in Encounter Day After Challenging Army Major to Gunfight
File photo of Sameer Tiger posing with a NATO produced M4 carbine.
New Delhi: One of the most recognised local faces of Kashmiri militancy – Hizbul Mujahideen’s Sameer Bhat alias Sameer Tiger – was killed along with another Hizbul militant – Aaquib Khan - in an encounter on Monday.

One civilian teenager – Shahid – was also killed during the encounter and two army personnel, including a major, were injured in the encounter.

Camera friendly Sameer Bhat was considered to be one of the “poster boys” of Kashmiri militancy. He had posed for a number of photographs, including the one where he posed with a NATO produced M4 carbine.

He also appeared in several videos, the latest of which surfaced on Sunday in which he is heard interrogating a local Kashmiri for allegedly spying against the militants.

In the video, Bhat was heard challenging an Indian army major to a gunfight.

Sources said that a huge number of civilians started pelting stones at the security force personnel present at the encounter site in Drubgam, Pulwama, to help Bhat and his associate escape. Bhat is incidentally a resident of Drubgam. He joined militancy in 2016.

A combined unit of army’s 44 battalion, CRPF, local police and Special Operations Group (SOG) carried out the encounter.

Bhat reportedly comes from a lower-middle class family in Pulwama. He was picked up regularly on charges of stone-throwing and detained multiple times by local police.

In an interview given to Firstpost, his father Mohammed Maqbool Bhat said that Sameer Bhat fled his house on April 7, 2016 to escape long-term imprisonment and torture at the hands of local police.

Various reports have suggested that militancy is rising rapidly in the valley. According to state government’s own data, local recruitment in militancy has risen by 44% from 2016 to 2017. According to latest figures – 30 local boys are understood to have joined militancy in 2018 - one local Kashmiri boy is picking up guns once every three days on an average,.

“As many as 66 youths joined militancy in 2015, 88 in 2016 and 126 in 2017,” Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti recently informed the Assembly.

In the last few weeks alone, a PhD scholar, a B.Tech graduate and an MBA joined militancy. The one who held an MBA degree was Junaid Ashraf Khan, the son of Hurriyat leader Mohammed Ashraf Sehrai, who recently replaced SAS Geelani as the chairperson of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat.

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| Edited by: Aakarshuk Sarna
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