Anti-militant strikes to stop during Ramzan

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The announcement does not talk about ceasefire but suspension of operations by security forces and Army against militants. Reuters file photo

In what is seen as an attempt to restore normalcy in violence-hit Jammu and Kashmir, the government has announced a conditional suspension of operations against militants during the month of Ramzan starting Thursday.

The announcement does not talk about ceasefire but suspension of operations by security forces and Army against militants, but at the same time giving forces the right to retaliate if attacked or if it feels that common people are in danger.

This move comes two days ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Jammu and Kashmir on May 19. It is similar to the Non-Initiation of Combat Operations (NICO) announced by the Vajpayee government during Ramzan in 2000.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said in a tweet that the central government has asked the security forces not to launch operations in Jammu and Kashmir during the holy month of Ramzan and it was conveyed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh to Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who has been demanding ceasefire from Ramzan till the completion of the Amarnath yatra in August.

'Isolate forces'

"Decision (is) taken to help the peace-loving Muslims observe Ramzan in a peaceful environment. Security forces reserve the right to retaliate if attacked or if essential to protect the lives of innocent people. The government expects everyone to cooperate in this initiative and help the Muslim brothers and sisters to observe Ramzan peacefully and without any difficulties," the tweets said.

The MHA said it was "important to isolate the forces that bring a bad name" to Islam by resorting to "mindless violence and terror".

Later, in an official statement, the MHA said the government has been "trying to create an environment free of terror and violence to enable the Muslim brothers to observe Ramzan in a peaceful manner and in conducive environment so that terrorists do not exploit their religious sentiments".

It said "motivated by this consideration", the government has issued these instructions while emphasising that it was "expected that all Muslim brothers and sisters following the true tenets of Islam will cooperate in ensuring the success of this initiative during the holy month of Ramzan".

Return peace 

"Government of India wants that during the ensuing month of Ramzan, no section of society and in particular, the peace loving Muslim community,  should face any difficulty. It is important that all peace loving people should come together to isolate the terrorists and motivate those who have been misguided to return to the path of peace," it said.

"It is a matter of regret that over the last few years, terrorists have indulged in large scale bloodshed not only in India but also in other parts of the World, even during this holy month. This has caused immense suffering to peace loving Muslims adhering to the true tenets of Islam. People belonging to other communities have also suffered...It should be our collective endeavour to isolate those, who bring a bad name to Islam by their senseless acts of terror and violence," the statement added.

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Anti-militant strikes to stop during Ramzan

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