The government on Sunday decided not to extend the suspension of counter-terror operations in J&K announced at the beginning of Ramzan month despite Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti pressing for an extension by at least two months. The Indian Express had on June 14 reported that the Home Ministry was not likely to extend the month-long ceasefire in place during Ramzan.
Commending the security forces for displaying exemplary restraint during the period, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said, “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.”
The Government commends the role of Security Forces for having implemented the decision in letter and spirit in the face of grave provocation, to enable the Muslim brothers and sisters to observe Ramzan in a peaceful manner.
— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) June 17, 2018
The government decision follows a high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and others on Friday in the wake of the killing of Shujaat Bukhari, the editor of Rising Kashmir newspaper, and a soldier posted with 44 Rashtriya Rifles.
Further, the two separate attacks by militants in south Kashmir on June 12, where two policemen and 12 CRPF personnel were injured — the worst since the unilateral ceasefire was announced — may also have had a bearing on the government’s decision.
The government further said it was committed towards ensuring an environment free of terror and violence in J&K and bring back misguided youth to the right path. “It is important that all those who have interests of 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,” a government statement said.
Minister in the state for PMO Jitendra Singh said the decision was taken considering the Amarnath Yatra. “We have to take the decision in the right spirit. Home Ministry has taken into cognizance all inputs. Immediate priority for us is we have to conduct Amarnath Yatra peacefully. The majority of youth in Kashmir has moved on,” Singh said.
The Centre on May 16 had announced the suspension of operations in J&K and had said it would be extended during Amarnath Yatra if the situation in the Valley improved. However, despite a few days of lull after the announcement, militant activities resumed and the “confidence-building measure” was reciprocated neither by terrorists nor the separatists. Moreover, 35 militants from across LoC have been killed by the Army during the suspension of operations, further queering the pitch.
In first reactions from the J&K government, deputy CM Kavinder Gupta said a befitting reply would be given to those who took advantage of the ceasefire. “This was just suspension of operations. A befitting reply will be given to everyone who indulged in such activities. We will find all the culprits,” ANI quoted Gupta as saying.