The Centre had firmed up its views against extending the suspension of operations in Jammu and Kashmir, even before senior journalist Shujaat Bukhari was killed, primarily for two reasons, it is learnt. First, there was no progress on the dialogue with separatists, despite Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s appeal that the Centre is ready to talk to everyone, and the Amarnath Yatra, which begins on June 28, for which routes have to be sanitised beforehand.
According to Home Ministry officials, the level of violence was not the reason for revoking the suspension order. Threat assessment on the Amarnath Yatra is understood to be one of the major factors that led to the decision, and incidents of violence, including killings of Armyman Aurangzeb and journalist Bukhari, gave a new impetus to end it, they said.
“The relief (suspension of operations against militancy in the Valley) was meant only for the period of Ramzaan. It was withdrawn soon after Eid,” a Home Ministry official explained.
The stand of the separatist groups in Kashmir was evident from their statement on May 29, before the Home Minister’s visit to the state earlier this month. In a joint statement, the separatist leadership had said: “…this dispute has three stakeholders — India, Pakistan and the people of this land (J&K). Meaningful talks…is an assured and peaceful way to resolve the conflict. Absence of any one stakeholder will not yield any solution.”
Despite calls from Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti for a dialogue, it became evident that even if the suspension of operations is extended, the separatist groups will not come forward for a dialogue, ministry officials said. In addition, they said, there was no let up in infiltration and ceasefire violations from across the border.
This was conveyed to Singh on his visit to the Valley — on June 7-8 — and on his return, he met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 8 and relayed the situation. The government subsequently decided to give some more time before assessing the situation on ground, as there were also reports that the move has yielded positive results and generated goodwill among Kashmiris.
On Sunday, Singh stated, “It was expected that everyone will cooperate in ensuring the success of this initiative. While security forces have displayed exemplary restraint during this period, the terrorists have continued with their attacks, on civilians and SFs (security forces), resulting in deaths and injuries. The security forces are being directed to take all necessary actions as earlier to prevent terrorists from launching attacks and indulging in violence and killings…”
A top Home Ministry official said, “There was no alarming rise in the number of terror-related incidents, and since security forces were vigilant during this one month, their casualties were also limited.”