Srinagar, May 06: Until Sunday morning when he was killed, Saddam Padder was the last active militant among those who figured in the famous Burhan Wani-led group photograph released on social media sometime in June 2015.
With his death, all except one in that 11-member militant-group, who posed in military fatigues holding Kalashnikovs in their hands, are dead now.
On Sunday Saddam, along with four of his associates, including a day-old KU-Assistant Professor-turned-militant, were killed in an encounter in Badigam village of south Kashmir’s Shopian district.
Tariq Pandit, the only one alive among the group, had surrendered in May 2016, two months before Burhan’s death in an encounter in South Kashmir, which eventually triggered the massive uprising of that year.
The 2015 photo had creates ripples on social media and made Burhan Wani and his associates a house hold name in Kashmir.
It also became a headache for ‘security’ agencies since the photo had proven effective in attracting more youth towards militancy.
Padder, 26, who belonged to Heff village in Shopian, had given up studies after Class 12 to help his father in his orchard. He joined militancy sometime in 2013, and initially was part of the LeT before switching over to Hizb in 2015.
Apart from Burhan and Saddam, that photo included Naseer Pandit, Adil Khanday, Afaq-ullah Bhat, Sabzar Bhat, Ishfaq Hamid Dar, Waseem Malla, Wasim Shah, Anees and Tariq Pandit.
Among them Afaq-ullah and Adil Khanday were the first ones to be killed in October 2015.
Waseem Malla alias Inam-ul-Haq, an A++ level rebel along with cop-turned-militant Naseer Pandit were killed in April 2016.
A month later, Ishfaq Hamid Dar was killed in Panzgam Pulwama followed by Burhan Wani in July 2016.
In May 2017, Sabzar Bhat, who had succeeded Burhan Wani as Hizb Commander, too was killed in an encounter in South Kashmir.
The only militant in the group who had hid his face with a camouflage scarve was reportedly identified as Anees, who too was killed in an encounter in south Kashmir in 2017.
The penultimate one in the list, Waseem Shah, who as per reports had switched over to Lashkar, fell to the bullets in October 2017.