Grenade attacks in Jammu and Kashmir disrupt plans of peace after the Ramzan ceasefire announcement

Srinagar: The grenade attacks are back in Kashmir Valley, creating an atmosphere of uncertainty and fear, like the early nineties when they were common occurrences.

Thousands of people have been injured, maimed and crippled for life in the last 28 years of conflict in the Valley because of grenade attacks. And if the attacks from last four days is indication of anything, it is that militants have revived the strategy of lobbing grenades at security forces and on the roads.

On Monday, twelve people, including four policemen and eight civilians, were injured when suspected militants hurled a grenade at a police team in south Kashmir’s Shopian district. This was the highest toll of injured people in a single attack, since New Delhi announced a unilateral ceasefire in the middle of last month.

“Around 12 civilians were reportedly injured in this explosion. A young girl has received critical injuries in this explosion while four policemen also sustained injuries in this incident,” a police spokesperson said on Monday.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

“Everyone run for their lives, policemen and people together were seen injured on the road side. They were later bundled in the civilian vehicle and taken to the hospital,” Manzoor Ahmad Mirchal, a resident, told Firstpost from Shopian.

Since 17 May, after a ceasefire was announced, beginning the Muslim holy month of Ramzan, militants have carried out 14 grenade attacks on the security forces' installations, on police patrols, and on the houses of political leaders. Dozens of civilians and security forces have been injured in these attacks.

Fifteen people have been killed, including eight militants along LoC, and at least 50 people were also injured in grenade attacks across the valley. The ceasefire was announced after Kashmir witnessed a 50 percent rise in encounters and killings during 2015-2017 over 2012-2014.

“The Centre asks Security Forces not to launch operations in Jammu & Kashmir during the holy month of Ramzan. Decision taken to help the peace-loving Muslims observe Ramzan in a peaceful environment. HM Shri @rajnathsingh has informed the Chief Minister, J&K of Centre’s decision,” the HMO Twitter posted.

But since that day, more than twelve militant attacks have been reported from different parts of Kashmir during the ongoing unilateral ceasefire. On Friday alone, the Valley was rocked by four grenade attacks in the wake of intelligence alerts on major strikes.

The militants have also snatched six weapons and carried out 15 attacks on security forces and other places.

On 23 May, at least a dozen people were injured when suspected militants lobbed a grenade on the main road at Guriwan in Bijbehara area of south Kashmir’s Ananatnag district. Chaotic scenes were witnessed in Srinagar’s SMHS hospital when the injured people were brought for the treatment.

On Saturday, the militant outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) claimed responsibility for two grenade attacks on forces at Fateh Kadal and Badshah Chowk in Srinagar, the capital.

The JeM spokesperson in a statement said that as part of “Operation Badr”, JeM carried out the first attack at Fateh Kadal in which several forces were injured. “Jaish-e-Mohammad cadres also carried out the attack on CRPF at Badshah Chowk in which several CRPF troopers were injured,” the spokesperson said.

The biggest attack carried out by militants since the ceasefire took place on 28 May, when an army soldier was killed in an attack carried by militants in Kakapora village of Pulwama. The suspected militants opened fire upon army’s 50 RR camp at Kakapora. The army retaliated triggering off a brief encounter. During the exchange of firing, one civilian and one army man had sustained injuries.

The Jammu and Kashmir police chief Shesh Paul Vaid said last week that the Ramzan ceasefire announced by Delhi has been successful and the situation in south Kashmir has also eased.

“The Ramzan ceasefire has been successful thus far. The initiative of Hon’ble PM has helped in general improvement in law & order. The situation especially in south Kashmir has eased & is serving as confidence Building Measure for families who want their boys to return back home (sic)," the DGP had tweeted.

New Delhi’s month-long Ramzan ceasefire announcement in Kashmir came in the backdrop of rising counter-insurgent strikes. As the death toll mounted, both the regional as well as federal government drew flak, and therefore had been mulling over the means to save the situation. But given how events are already unfolding this Ramzan in Kashmir, not many seem to be hopeful about the ceasefire.

A senior police officer in South Kashmir said that after the ceasefire was announced, the forces have kept their movement restricted to the posts and have not carried out anti-militancy operations even after getting information about militants.

“These people want to take advantage of that,” the police officer based in Anantnag (where few grenade attacks took place in the last 15 days) said.

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Updated Date: Jun 05, 2018 19:58:56 IST

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