Centre Pauses Anti-Terror Ops in J&K During Ramzan

The security forces, however, reserve the right to retaliate if attacked to protect civilians, the ministry said.

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In a major decision, the Centre on 16 May asked security forces not to launch operations in Jammu and Kashmir during the holy month of Ramzan, PTI reported.

J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had appealed the Centre for a unilateral ceasefire during Ramzan after the killing of a Chennai tourist last week in stone pelting.

The decision has been taken to help the “peace-loving Muslims observe Ramzan in a peaceful environment,” a Home Ministry spokesperson said.

The security forces, however, reserve the right to retaliate if attacked or if essential to protect the lives of innocent people, the Ministry said. 

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has informed Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti of the central government's decision.

"It is important to isolate the forces that bring a bad name to Islam by resorting to mindless violence and terror," the spokesperson said.


The government expects everyone to cooperate in this initiative and help Muslim brothers and sisters observe Ramzan peacefully and without any difficulties, the spokesperson said.

The holy month of Ramzan is likely to start on 17 May, Thursday or Friday, depending on the sighting of the moon.

Mehbooba, Omar Welcome Centre's Decision to Halt Security Ops

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and opposition National Conference leader Omar Abdullah on 16 May welcomed the Centre's decision to cease security operations in Jammu and Kashmir during Ramzan.

Following Centre’s announcement, Mehbooba welcomed the move “wholeheartedly” and expressed gratitude towards the PM Modi and Home minister Rajnath Singh.


She said Ramzan is a harbinger of peace and such a decision will go a long way in creating a peaceful and amicable environment for a sustained dialogue.

Farooq Abdullah of the National Conference touted the move as “a great step forward”.

I would like to congratulate Home Minister Rajnath Singh and PM Modi. This reminds me of Atal ji’s era when he announced unilateral ceasefire. I welcome this. 
Farooq Abdullah, National Conference to ANI

Omar said if the militants did not respond in kind to the Centre's unilateral halt on operations during the month of Ramzan, they will be exposed as enemies of the people.

"On the demand of all political parties (except the BJP, which had opposed it) the Centre has announced a unilateral ceasefire. Now if the militants don't respond in kind, they will stand exposed as the true enemies of the people," he said in a tweet.


Centre’s Move Similar to NICO Under First NDA Govt

Centre’s decision is similar to the Non Initiation of Combat Operations (NICO) announced by the first NDA government, headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee, during Ramzan in 2000, PTI reported.

Nearly, all terrorists groups in operation in the valley in 2000 had rejected the government offer, the report added.

However, the NICO was discontinued five months after increased violence, including an attack at the Srinagar airport in which six militants belonging to Lashkar-e-Taiba stormed in, killing two security personnel and two civilians. All six militants were killed in the retaliatory firing.


After Centre’s Decision, Encounter Breaks Out in J&K’s Jamanagri District

Hours after the Centre’s decision was announced, an encounter between militants and security forces broke out at an army patrol at Jamnagri in Shopian district on Wednesday, 16 May, PTI reported. No casualties were reported.

The valley has witnessed the killing of over 55 militants including at least 27 locals this year, PTI reported.

(With inputs from PTI)

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