Top Hizbul commander Sameer Tiger was neutralised along with one other terrorist at an encounter in J&K's Pulwama on Monday. Below is a story from November 2017 which gives us a sense of just why this is such a big win for security forces.
On March 24, 2016, a young boy named Sameer Ahmad Bhat was arrested for stone pelting in Jammu and Kashmir but was released on March 29. In under two months, on May 7, 2016, the 21-year-old joined the Hizbul Mujahideen terror group. He is now emerging as the new poster boy of Kashmir terrorism, which is backed, financed and supported by the Pakistani establishment.
In a matter of year and half, Sameer Bhat, who is now known as Sameer 'Tiger', has become one of the rising stars of the Jaish-e-Muhammad, a deadly terror group that he had joined recently leaving behind the HM.
Once known as a “chronic” stone pelter and an Over Ground Worker (OGW) of HM, Sameer is now an A++ category terrorist.
His joining Masood Azhar's JeM has been a boon for the terror group that largely consists of Pakistani terrorists.
Security sources tell Republic TV that the JeM wants Sameer to be the next poster boy.
Sameer recently posted a picture of his holding a NATO-operated M4 gun and it has gone viral. Sources say that even the new Bollywood film Tiger Zinda Hai is being used by the terror masters to create a myth around Sameer, especially among youngsters. The idea is to use Sameer as a poster boy so that more youngsters could get inspired and join terror groups.
Another interesting development, besides Sameer, is that the JeM, which had only a handful of cadres over the past few years, has suddenly upped its stake. Conservative estimates put the cadre strength at about 30, of which at least 15-18 are Pakistanis.
Sources say that in June and August this year, two big groups of heavily armed and well trained JeM terrorists have managed to infiltrate into Kashmir from the Gurez sector and from the South Kashmir side. It is suspected that the M4s and the AK-74s have been brought into the valley by these two groups of infiltrators.
With LeT bosses back in Pakistan getting into electoral mode, it is suspected that the Pakistani establishment has activated the JeM to carry out deadly attacks in Kashmir.
Since the beginning of this year, the security forces, led by spectacular ground-work by the Jammu and Kashmir Police, have been able to eliminate over 175 terrorists in the state, inflicting a severe blow to both the HM and the LeT as most of their commanders were bumped-off one after another. And this is where Sameer is of great help to the JeM.
Since Sameer is a local, he is helping the JeM -- mainly foreign terrorists -- to operate and hide freely despite having no familiarity with the local terrain.
Sources say that Tral in South Kashmir has emerged as the 'capital' of the JeM and lot of movement have been seen in Pulwama amd Shopian.
Only time will tell how long will Sameer actually live, because one thing is for sure, the security forces will get him. Hopefully soon.