Extension or no extension in ceasefire, all eyes on Home Minister’s visit to JK

Extension or no extension in ceasefire, all eyes on Home Minister’s visit to JK
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Ishtyaq Ahmad

Srinagar, Jun 5: Amid speculations that the centre may extend the truce in Jammu and Kashmir, it has put Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s upcoming visit to the valley in a renewed focus.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh is visiting state on June 7 to review post- ceasefire situation and upcoming Amaranth yatra arrangements, which is scheduled to commence from June 28. “The visit has now assumed significance as for as the extension of ceasefire announced earlier by home minister during Ramadhan is concerned. It is important what he says now,” one of the leaders of PDP said, insisted not to be named.
Sources said that the Home Minister on his visit to the state is likely to hold discussion with Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and other key officials of the security establishment, including the Army.
“The Home minister is likely to interact with civil society groups, political parties and other stakeholders. Home Minister will also hold meetings with heads of para-military forces and state police chief for understanding the post- ceasefire situation,” sources said.
Sources said that Rajnath Singh would also focus on the fact that his government has taken an initiative and would like to engage Hurriyat leaders. “The DGMO of both India and Pakistan have agreed to honour the ceasefire. So if the borders are quiet, then the next step would be to engage with all stakeholders in the valley. The home minister would highlight this aspect too,” a senior officer said.
Rajnath Singh had already announced that the centre is willing to talk to Hurriyat leaders. “If they are ready to talk, it would be a positive step,” he had said.
Sources said that Singh would put the onus on the Hurriyat leaders to come to the talking table. So far, the leaders have not given clear indication if they would like to engage with the centre.
It is to mention here that the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had discussed Jammu and Kashmir situation including possible extension of conditional ceasefire after Eid festival in the Union capital.
Sources in the MHA said that that Rajnath wanted to take view point of the Defence Minister as Army was playing crucial role in anti-militancy operations both in the hinterland of Kashmir valley as well as Line of Control (LoC), where recently a major infiltration attempt had been foiled with the killing of five militants.
However sources said that the Union Home Minister was likely to discuss the issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi before taking final call on extension or no extension of ceasefire.
Sources did not rule out that the home minister will announce his decision on ceasefire during his visit to the valley.
Rajnath had on May 16 announced ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir for the holy month of Ramadhan i.e. suspension of operations against militants but had maintained that security forces reserved the right to retaliate, if fired upon by the militants. (KNS)