A DAY after Eid, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh Sunday announced the withdrawal of suspension of security operations in J&K, which was declared for the month of Ramzan, and blamed “violence and killings” by “terrorists” for the decision. Singh said in a series of posts on his official Twitter handle that the government’s decision on May 17 to halt security operations was aimed at providing the “peace loving people of J&K” with a “conducive atmosphere to observe Ramzan”.
“It was expected that everyone will cooperate in ensuring the success of this initiative. While the Security Forces have displayed exemplary restraint during this period, the terrorists have continued with their attacks, on civilians and SFs, resulting in deaths and injuries,” he posted. “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… The Government will continue with its endeavour to create an environment free of terror and violence in Jammu and Kashmir,” Singh wrote.
“It is important that all those who have the interests of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, and especially the youth, in mind to isolate the terrorists and work towards bringing back misguided youth to the right path,” he posted. The period leading up to Eid, and the day after, witnessed a series of violent incidents in the Valley, including the killing of Shujaat Bukhari, the editor of ‘Rising Kashmir, who was shot by suspected militants in Srinagar last Thursday. On the same day, a soldier posted with 44 Rashtriya Rifles was abducted and killed by militants.
On Friday, a 20-year-old man was killed in clashes between police and civilians after Eid prayers in Anantnag. On the same day, a teenager was killed allegedly in Army firing during protests in Pulwama.
BJP sources indicated that the party’s senior leadership at the Centre and in J&K did not see “encouraging signs” on the ground to extend the ceasefire, especially with security forces preparing to sanitise the routes for the Amarnath Yatra.
Official sources said ceasefire violations by Pakistan along the International Border (IB), which registered an upward trend following the suspension of operations, was among the reasons for the withdrawal. Pakistan violated the ceasefire 1,252 times till May this year as compared to 971 such violations in 2017, 449 in 2016 and 405 in 2015.
The suspension of operations came after more than 17 years, in response to a demand made by J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti.
In 2000, a similar move was announced by the A B Vajpayee government. It lasted for 185 days, during which 781 attacks on security forces took place, resulting in the killing of 258 personnel, 535 civilians and 630 terrorists.
This time, 46 terrorist-related incidents were reported, Army sources said. J&K police recorded 38 terror-related incidents and 68 incidents of stone-pelting, officials said. The Army killed eight militants while two of its soldiers lost their lives. Before the suspension of operations, 55 terrorist-related incidents were reported and 60 militants gunned down.