End of Ramadan ceasefire causes dismay in Kashmir

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Srinagar, June 17 (IANS) The central government’s decision on Sunday not to extend the Ramadan ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir evoked mixed reactions, with the ruling PDP expressing its unhappiness.

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) spokesman Rafi Ahmad Mir said the party was not happy with the decision announced by the Union Home Ministry in view of the unending violence during Ramadan, blamed mostly on militants.

Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said: “The ceasefire was the Centre’s initiative … Its failure is the failure of everyone who wanted to give peace a chance.”

Refuting that the end of ceasefire indicated a failure of peace efforts, Deputy Chief Minister and BJP leader Kavinder Gupta said: “This was just suspension of operations. A befitting reply will be given to everyone who indulged in such activities.”

The Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, Jitendra Singh, said the priority for the government was to conduct the upcoming Amarnath Yatra and the decision not to extend the truce followed inputs from security forces and intelligence agencies.

CPI-M leader Muhammad Yusuf Tarigami said: “Whatever the compulsions and the provocation, the decision not to extend the ceasefire is unfortunate. The common Kashmiri had heaved a sigh of relief and that hope has now vanished.”

The ceasefire was announced on May 16 to provide a conducive atmosphere during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. But the separatists had not favourably responded to it from the very beginning.

“It was nothing more than temporary suspension of the killing spree of Kashmiris by Indian armed forces,” said an activist of the separatists who did not want to be identified by name.

Some Kashmiris argued that the resumption of offensive operations against militants only proved that there had been no serious application of mind when the ceasefire was announced.

“The ceasefire had given a ray of hope to us that the common man would be allowed to live without fear,” said a Srinagar resident, Javaid Ahmad, 48.

“Its withdrawal only proves that we are back to square one,” he added.



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