Mehbooba Mufti

On May 9, a week ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Kashmir, an ‘All party meeting’ presided over by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, decided that the suggestion of ceasefire would be discussed in upcoming meeting of the Unified Headquarters. Mehbooba threw her weight behind the idea that she would lead an all-party delegation (APD) to the Prime Minister before his scheduled visit.

On May 16, week after the (APM), Government of India announced a month long Ramazan ceasefire. The ceasefire means non-initiative of combat operations (NICO), by forces who whoever reserve the right to retaliate. This is the first such ceasefire in last 17 years.

Taking to twitter Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh wrote: “Decision taken to help the peace-loving Muslims observe Ramzan in a peaceful environment, clarifying that security forces reserve the right to retaliate if they are attacked or if it is essential to protect the lives of civilians.

Singh said the decision had been communicated to Mehbooba who, in a Twitter post, said she “wholeheartedly” welcomed the ceasefire and thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Singh.

“I wholeheartedly welcome the Ramadan ceasefire & would like to thank @narendramodi Ji & @rajnathsingh ji for their personal intervention. My gratitude also to the leaders & parties who participated in the All Party Meeting & helped build consensus towards this announcement,” Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti wrote on Twitter.

The centre’s Kashmir interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma termed the ceasefire a “great initiative” by the government, which must be supported by everyone.

CPI (M) leader Yousuf Tarigami said that an all-party delegation must visit Delhi and convince the centre the requirement for a unilateral ceasefire for the holy month of fasting. “We must pick the courage and seek it,” Tarigami said.

The independent lawmaker Engineer Rasheed talked in anticipation of the meeting insisting that he wants to clear the confusion of the government and the political class. “From our point of view, there should be a plebiscite and we must suggest a halt to military operations and then ask Delhi what is in their mind,” Rasheed said.

However, a militant outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba rejected the centre’s announcement. LeT said that the statement of India’s interior minister is nothing but a drama. It may be a wish of India and it’s few sympathizers and nothing else.

Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), comprising Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Yasin Malik and Syed Ali Geelani in a brief meeting held at Hyderpora Srinagar deliberated on the various dimensions of the “Operation Halt” announced by the Home Ministry.

JRL termed “Operation Halt” as a cruel joke with Kashmiris, who are engaged in a legitimate movement for the right to self-determination. The people of Kashmir want permanent peace rather than a relaxation in killings for one month.

– Umar Khurshid

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