Two days after a deadly attack killing four policemen in Sopore, the Hizbul Mujahideen announced a reward of Rs. 5 lakh for the cadre who carried out the strike.
On Sunday evening, Hizbul Mujahideen spokesman Balaag-ud-din called up a local news agency. “The militants who carried out the successful strike against the J&K police have been rewarded,’’ he reportedly said.
Though Hizbul Mujahideen had not claimed responsibility for the attack so far, the spokesman, according to the news agency, warned the police to be ready for further strikes.
The announcement of cash rewards — a rarity in the nearly three decades of terror — signals a new strategy to lure people into militancy and disrupt the newfound peace.
It also came on a day a police patrol party had a narrow escape in Srinagar after a grenade hurled at it from a speeding car failed to explode.
Friday’s attack in Sopore, though, was a planned ambush.
The militants had lured a police team to Haigam, by routing a call through the local sarpanch alleging the presence of thieves in the village.
When a police party reached, it came under heavy fire. Four special police officers were killed and the militants decamped with their weapons.
The attack came barely a week after police claimed to have wiped out the militants from the area. Already, a psychological warfare is on against the men in uniform.
Numerous graffiti are mushrooming, warning of fresh attacks. Handwritten posters have appeared at many places in north Kashmir, warning those suspected to be police informers.
A sarpanch from Sopore, meanwhile, was fired at late on Sunday evening. Though injured, Ghulam Ahmad Bhat is out of danger. The attack on Bhat is a part of a series of attacks on local representatives since the panchayat elections in June 2011.
Six local representatives have died so far.