Kashmir: Centre decides not to extend Ramzan ceasefire

Kashmir: Centre decides not to extend Ramzan ceasefire

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh addresses a press conference, in Jammu on Friday, June 08, 2018. PMO MoS Jitendra Singh is also seen. (PTI Photo)

The Government on Sunday announced that it will not extend the month-long suspension of anti-militant operations during the holy month of Ramzan in Jammu and Kashmir from Sunday and directed security forces to "take all necessary actions as earlier" to prevent terror strikes.

The decision came as the government reviewed the situation in Kashmir with the Ramzan month culminating with Eid-ul-Fitr on Saturday and a section within the security establishment managing to convince that an extension at a time Amarnath Yatra is to commence would be detrimental.

"The government decides not to extend the suspension of operations in JK announced in the beginning of Ramazan. The operations against the terrorists to resume," Home Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted amid speculation that government may extend the initiative while Amarnath Yatra is on.

He said the government commended the security forces for showing "exemplary restraint" during Ramazan despite "grave provocations" to enable people to celebrate Ramzan in a peaceful manner and that they were committed to working for creating an environment free of terror and violence in Kashmir.

The government had on May 17 announced that the security forces will not conduct offensive operations in Kashmir while keeping the option open for retaliating in case of attacks.

In an official statement, the MHA said, "it was expected that everyone will cooperate in ensuring the success of this initiative. While the security forces have displayed exemplary restraint during this period, the terrorists have continued with their attacks, on civilians and security forces, resulting in deaths and injuries."

The MHA said the security forces have now been directed to "take all necessary actions as earlier to prevent terrorists from launching attacks and indulging in violence and killings".

It said the government will continue its endeavour to create an environment free of terror and violence in Kashmir. "It is important that all sections of peace loving people come together to isolate all terrorists and motivate those who have been misguided to return to the path of peace," the statement said.

The Home Minister had briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the past couple of days after having wide-ranging consultations with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat, Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba and other senior officials. Doval and Rawat had opposed any move to extend the suspension of ceasefire as they felt that it would not be conducive to do so as the Amarnath Yatra is set to begin on June 28.

While announcing the suspension of operations last month, the MHA had said, "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. Government expects everyone to cooperate in this initiative and help the Muslim brothers and sisters to observe Ramzan peacefully and without any difficulties."