Delhi rules out unilateral truce in Kashmir
19 September 2007
Srinagar: India ruled out on Wednesday a unilateral ceasefire with freedom fighters in Kashmir during the month of Ramazan amid ongoing violence. The Indian government said it would not declare a ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir during Ramazan unless there was a similar offer from groups fighting for freedom in the Himalayan region. “We cannot decide unilaterally. It depends on them (militant groups) as well,” Defence Minister A.K. Antony told reporters in New Delhi. Earlier this month, an alliance of Kashmiri groups said it would consider a ceasefire in Kashmir if a “sincere and serious” offer came from “some respectable quarter.” The United Jihad Council, an alliance of more than a dozen militant groups, has made no further public statements about a ceasefire since. The daylight attack on the army convoy took place in Gund, 40 km northeast of the summer capital Srinagar, police said. “The attack is the first one organised by militants since the start of Ramazan,” a police spokesman said, adding that the rebels managed to flee. An ally of the ruling Congress party in Kashmir, the People’s Democratic Party, has called for a cessation of military operations during Ramazan, as have other pro-India and separatist politicians. Security officials in New Delhi, however, oppose a ceasefire, saying militants in the past have used truces to regroup and re-arm. Indian troops have killed 20 militants since the start of Ramadan last week in Kashmir, where the revolt has left more than 42,000 people dead by official count since 1989.