Jammu, May 20: Director General of Jammu and Kashmir Police SP Vaid on Sunday expressed hope that the Centre’s decision to halt anti-militancy operations in the state during the holy month of Ramzan would have a positive impact on everyone.
“I hope this (unilateral ceasefire) initiative of the government of India will have a positive effect on everyone including the forces that are sponsoring terrorism,” the DGP told reporters on the sidelines of a function.
Vaid also expressed confidence that the annual pilgrimage to the cave shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir Himalayas, starting in June 2918, would pass off peacefully. Replying to a question about the initiative at a time when the Amarnath yatra was round the corner and Pakistan and its proxies were trying to escalate violence to undermine the effort, he said he was sure that the two-month-long yatra, scheduled to begin on June 28, would pass off peacefully.
“This initiative has been taken in the holy month of Ramadhan, and (Amarnath) yatra is also as auspicious as Ramadhan. I am sure it will pass off peacefully,” he said.
Vaid added that the holy month of Ramadhan is for everyone and “I think Pakistan should also observe it (by giving up violence).” On the rejection of the ceasefire initiative by Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT) militant group, he maintained, “That is their statement… We will do what we feel is correct.”
On May 16, 2018, the Centre had announced that security forces would not launch any operation in the state during the holy month of Ramadhan but they reserved the right to retaliate if attacked. The Ministry of Home Affairs had said that the decision had been taken to help the “peace-loving Muslims observe Ramadhan in a peaceful environment”. However, it had added that the security forces “reserve the right to retaliate if attacked or if essential to protect the lives of innocent people”.
Welcoming the decision by the Centre, J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti had said, “I wholeheartedly welcome the Ramadan ceasefire and would like to thank PM and Home Minister for their personal intervention. My gratitude also to the leaders and parties who participated in the All Party Meeting and helped build consensus towards this announcement.”
She had earlier demanded a unilateral ceasefire by the security forces during Ramadhan and Amarnath yatra in the state. But the Centre was initially not too keen on offering an olive branch to the terror groups pointing out that the situation in the state was not conducive for a ceasefire and such an exercise undertaken in 2000 had not given the desired results.
Later, after an all-party meeting, Mufti had said that the central government should consider a unilateral ceasefire in the state starting from Ramadhan in mid-May till the completion of the Amarnath yatra in August. She had added that a ceasefire would provide relief to the people and help create a better atmosphere in the state.
The Valley has witnessed the killing of over 55 militants including at least 27 locals till May 15, 2018.