Mehbooba Mufti demands unilateral ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir during Ramzan but Centre not too keen

New Delhi: The Centre seems not too keen about initiating a unilateral ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir as of now as the situation is not conducive and such an exercise in 2000 did not give the desired results, officials said here.

They said there was no guarantee that the Pakistan-based terrorists groups would reciprocate if the Centre agrees to the state government's request for a ceasefire.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Recalling the Non Initiation of Combat Operations (NICO), announced by the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2000, a senior government functionary said there was a major terror attack at the Srinagar airport during the crucial four-month period 18 years ago, and the announcement of such a decision now may be termed as a "weakness" in the current situation in the state.

"Almost all terrorists groups operating in the valley in 2000 had rejected the government offer. Many still recall that during the four-month period, terrorists were roaming freely in Kashmir. Is there any guarantee that such a situation would not repeat now," the official said requesting anonymity.

Six terrorists belonging to Lashkar-e-Taiba had attacked the Srinagar airport when the ceasefire was in force in 2000 in which two security personnel and two civilians were killed. All six terrorists were also killed in the retaliatory firing.

Another official described the prevailing situation in Kashmir valley as "turbulent" where nearly 80 incidents of violence occurred in last four months and civilians were often seen coming out to encounter sites to stage protests with the intention of giving the militants an opportunity to escape.

Under such circumstances, announcement of a ceasefire may be seen as "weakness" on the part of the government, the official said and cited a series of brazen militant attacks including the killing of eight Amarnath pilgrims last year.

The official, however, asserted that it would be a political decision and would be taken at the highest level of the government.

After an all-party meeting, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had said that the central government should consider a unilateral ceasefire in the state starting from Ramzan in mid-May till the completion of the Amarnath yatra in August.

"Everyone (all parties) agreed that we should appeal to the Centre to consider a ceasefire like the unilateral ceasefire in (former PM Atal Bihari) Vajpayee's time in Ramzan (later this month) till Amarnath yatra and Eid," she said.

Mehbooba said a ceasefire would provide relief to the people and help create a better atmosphere in the state.

"The Centre should think on these lines so that the common people get some relief because they are facing many difficulties due of encounters, crackdowns and search operations," she said.

The Valley has witnessed the killing of over 55 militants including at least 27 locals this year.


Updated Date: May 18, 2018 07:39 AM

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