Hours after Union home minister Rajnath Singh issued a directive to halt security operations in Kashmir during Ramzan, the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) rejected the offer of a ceasefire, terming it as a compromise. However, mainstream political parties in Jammu and Kashmir, including Opposition parties National Conference and Congress, have said that peace needs to be given a chance.
LeT chief Mahmood Shah said in a statement to the media that the “ceasefire is no option and no thought can be given to such a compromise. We deem it as a sin and disgrace to the sacrifices put up in the freedom struggle. We are the heirs of the martyrs. Opting for such a choice is treachery to the blood of martyrs...The statement of India's interior minister is nothing but a drama. It may be a wish of India and its few sympathisers and nothing else.”
The LeT referred to army chief Bipin Rawat, stating that he believes that he can threaten the “Kashmiris by imposing atrocities on unarmed students.”
“It has neither happened before nor will it happen now. We were active in the resistance before and so we will be in future (sic),” it said in a statement.” The outfit further said that it was in “favour of negotiations, but talks of negotiations in the presence of armed occupational forces in the region are lies.”
“Our mothers are supporting us by picking up the guns and we can never betray their trust. This indigenous freedom struggle is supported by the pure blood of martyrs and we can never let anyone betray it. We vow to the people that we will never betray their trust and the immense sacrifices they have gone through in the freedom struggle. We will fight to the last of our blood in our struggle against illegal occupation. India shall soon witness the wrath of the people. We will continue the armed struggle until and unless Jammu and Kashmir has won its freedom,” he added.
However, mainstream parties have welcomed the central government's move to extend the offer for ceasefire to militants. The ruling PDP said that it will try and pursue a dialogue with the separatists. PDP chief spokesperson, Rafi Ahmad Mir, said that the ceasefire was a welcome development, adding that steps will be taken to convince the central government on the need for dialogue with Pakistan.
Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, while welcoming the announcement, said that “the decision would go a long way in healing the wounds of people of the state who have been suffering the tragedies and pain of violence and uncertainty for the past three decades or so.”
The Congress and National Conference also welcomed the ceasefire offer. A Congress state spokesperson said that efforts should be made to “restore peace beyond the month of Ramzan also in the Valley.” Earlier, former chief minister Omar Abdullah also welcomed the offer, which he said was made after an all party meeting which was convened by Mehbooba Mufti recently.
Awami Ittehad party leader and MLA from Langate, Er Rashid, said that the ceasefire announcement proves that “militants enjoy public support and eliminating them makes them stronger. The unilateral ceasefire is a victory of the Kashmiris. At the same time, it should not be seen as a defeat of the other side. New Delhi must now move beyond the ceasefire and offer unconditional talks to United Jihad Council and the Hurriyat leadership, and then start tripartite talks between all the three stakeholders.”
However, the Government of India (GoI) interlocutor, Dineshwar Sharma, said that after the ceasefire, he may try and approach the separatists again for talks.
Former Kashmir interlocutor, MM Ansari, told Firstpost that the central government's announcement is a welcome step which “ augurs well for restoring peace and containing human rights violations.”
He said that this was a “step towards preparing a congenial atmosphere for the prime minister’s visit to the state.” He added that it was in line with the policy of former prime minister AB Vajpayee on Kashmir. “This is the first measure taken by the prime minister in pursuance of Vajpayee's policy on Kashmir,” he said.
Updated Date: May 18, 2018 07:39 AM