June 2018 News

Ramzan Ceasefire In Jammu And Kashmir May Not Extend Beyond Eid

13 June 2018
The Indian Express
Liz Mathew

New Delhi: THE GOVERNMENT is not likely to extend the month-long ceasefire in place during Ramzan in J&K, but it may refrain from publicly announcing the resumption of operations, BJP sources told The Indian Express. 'The announcement on halting of operations was till Ramzan, and the unilateral suspension will end on Eid. The government is unlikely to extend it because the Amarnath Yatra will begin within days, and we have to sanitise the corridors. We cannot keep the hands of the Army tied,' said a top leader of the party. The ceasefire will 'automatically' end on Eid, the leader said. 'The government may not come out with an explicit announcement on resuming operations. But in effect, it will end, and the implication will be resumption of operations,' the leader said. However, sources said, the Centre's special representative to J&K, Dineshwar Sharma, will meet separatist leaders in the Valley after Eid. 'We are expecting some positive developments after Eid (for dialogue),' sources said. Although there were indications that the Centre would be open to extending the ceasefire beyond Eid, the top leadership of the ruling party and the government seem to have concluded that the time was not right to continue the 'goodwill gesture'. On Tuesday, BJP general secretary Ram Madhav was in Srinagar and met party leaders as well as those from the ruling alliance partner PDP, including Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. On Wednesday, Madhav hinted that the government may not favour the extension of ceasefire. 'Ramzan is the holy month for Muslims so the Indian government had decided to announce suspension of operations during this period as a goodwill gesture. We also wanted that the same be reciprocated but there was no change in the actions of separatists and terrorists,' Madhav was quoted as saying by ANI. 'This (announcement of ceasefire) will be reviewed by the Home Ministry and other departments concerned. Further course of action will be decided after the month of Ramzan,' he was quoted as saying. BJP sources indicated that the party's leadership in J&K and at the Centre did not see 'encouraging signs' on the ground to go ahead with the cessation of operations announced on May 16. They pointed out that the Army had shot more than 35 infiltrators near the Line of Control (LoC) and in other areas during the suspension of operations. In the initial days of the ceasefire, BJP leaders had said that the halt in operations should not continue after Ramzan. However, they had said, the Home Ministry would take a call on the matter. For instance, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had repeatedly clarified that the cessation of operations was only till Ramzan. BJP sources claimed that Chief Minister Mufti was keen to extend the ceasefire by at least two months. But while the Centre agreed with her demand for initiating fresh dialogue with the separatist leadership, they said, it would be 'difficult to oblige the demand for extension of halting operations'.