July 2000 News

Operations stepped down

28 July 2000
The Hindu
Shujaat Bukhari

Srinagar: The Army had reduced operations against militants in response to the ceasefire announcement by the Hizbul Mujahideen, the chief of staff of the 15 Corps, Major General Basant Singh, said here today and described it as the first call towards peace. Talking to reporters after meeting National Cadet Corps cadets at the Badamibagh cantonment, he said, ''there has been no operation after the announcement but we are taking precautionary measures for our own safety.'' ''A decision on a ceasefire from our side is to be taken by the Central Government. As far as the Hizbul Mujahideen is concerned we have taken heed of its offer but anti-insurgency operations cannot be suspended and we are taking precautionary measures.'' However, ''if they attack us we have to respond. It is difficult to know from 200 metres who is on the other side.'' The credit for the Hizbul Mujahideen deciding to call for a ceasefire goes to the State''s people, who had borne the brunt of the militancy in the last 11 years. ''People are fed up with the violence and are not ready to send their children to be trained in arms and are rather keen on seeing them educated'' he said adding that security forces would not succeed in curbing militancy without their support. Holding Pakistan responsible for the ongoing proxy war in the State, Gen. Basant Singh said it had made a number of attempts to snatch Kashmir away from India. This was done in 1965 and 1971 as also through the Kargil misadventure last year, but ''we will not allow this to happen and will ensure that Pakistan cannot succeed.'' What was happening in Kashmir was just short of a real conflict, he said.


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