Centre decides against extending Ramzan ceasefire, counter-terror operations to resume
Falling into a trap laid by militants and inimical forces in Pakistan, the Centre today decided not to extend the suspension of counter-terror operations in J&K. There were desperate voices to extend the deadline and give track II process of dialogue a chance. But the killing of Shujaat Bukhari, the editor of Rising Kashmir newspaper, tipped the scales against.
The suspension of counter-terror operations in J&K was announced at the beginning of Ramzan month and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had pressed for an extension by at least two months. But the Home Ministry today decided to tighten the screws and go after the militants in J&K. This is likely to lead of another spiral of violence and bloodshed in the Valley. And this is what the militants and separatists want.
Announcing the end of the suspension of counter-terror operations 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 Security Forces, resulting in deaths and injuries.”
The government’s decision comes two days after Shujaat Bukhari was gunned down in Srinagar and a soldier posted with 44 Rashtriya Rifles was abducted, tortured and killed by militants. In two separate attacks by militants in south Kashmir on June 12, two policemen and 12 CRPF personnel were injured — the worst since the unilateral ceasefire was announced.
Later, a government statement said: “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.”
The Centre had announced the suspension of operations in J&K on May 16 and had said it would be extended during Amarnath Yatra if the situation in the Valley improved. But militants were hell-bent on upsetting the peace offer. Now, the Amarnath Yatra may become a target of attacks.
In the initial days of the suspension, there was a lull. But soon militant activities resumed and the “confidence-building measure” was reciprocated neither by terrorists nor the separatists. Moreover, 35 militants from across LoC were killed by the Army during the suspension of operations. This further queered the pitch