Kashmir ceasefire: Security forces keep fingers crossed

A Kashmiri family walks past a paramilitary jawan as he stands guard in Srinagar on May 17, 2018, day one of the Centre’s month-long ceasefire.   | Photo Credit: AP

Security agencies were keeping their fingers crossed over a fresh unilateral ceasefire announced by the Centre during the fasting month of Ramzan that begins on May 17, as a similar exercise nearly two decades ago witnessed the killing of 129 people including 43 security personnel, according to officials.

The security agency officials felt a need to monitor the situation closely as terror groups had used such a window as an opportunity to regroup themselves and carry out more attacks on security establishments.

The Centre on May 16 announced that security forces would not launch any operation in the State during the holy month of Ramzan but they reserved the right to retaliate, if attacked. The announcement came ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Jammu and Kashmir on May 19.

“It is important to isolate the forces that bring a bad name to Islam by resorting to mindless violence and terror,” a Union Home Ministry spokesperson said on May 16.

Quoting data, the officials said that during the unilateral ceasefire, popularly known as ‘Non Initiation of Combat Operations’ (NICO), which was announced on November 19, 2000 and came into effect on November 28, terrorists carried out three fidayeen attacks on Army cantonment, police control room and Srinagar airport, and two massacres.

The previous ceasefire, which was announced by the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and extended twice — January 24, 2001 and on February 22 of the same year — also witnessed an attack on former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah.

From November 19, 2000 to May 23, 2001, 44 terrorists were killed by the security forces. During the period, 42 civilians also died which included massacre of six Sikh civilians at Mehjoor Nagar in Srinagar on February 3, 2001 and 15 civilians by Lashker-e-Taiba terror outfit at Morha Salui in Rajouri district on February 10.

During this period, the first Kashmiri fidayeen suicide bomber Afaq Ahmed Shah blew himself along with an explosive-laden car outside Badami Bagh Cantonment area on December 25, killing four security personnel.

According to the officials, the number of terrorists killed during the period was 44, civilians 42, Army (six), police (24) and other security forces (13).

This included a fidayeen attack by terrorists at the Jammu and Kashmir Police control room on February 9, in which 12 people — eight policemen and four militants — were killed.

During the period, nine security force personnel were killed in two land mine blasts in Pulwama and Kaigam on January 18, and 15 policemen and two civilians were killed in an ambush at Morha Chatru in Rajouri district on March 2, 2001.

The NICO ended on May 23, 2001 after Mr. Vajpayee chaired a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security.

JKLF chief Yasin Malik detained ahead of Modi visit

JKLF chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik was detained on May 17 by the police ahead of Mr. Modi’s visit.

Mr. Malik was taken into custody near the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front office in Abi Guzar area of the city, its spokesman said. He said that immediately after the arrest, Mr. Malik was shifted to police station Kothibagh.

Prior to his arrest, Mr. Malik told media persons outside the JKLF office that New Delhi has choked every space of peaceful political activities in Kashmir.

“Today is the first day of holy Ramadhan and I am being arrested on this very day. This is the reality of Indian democracy in Jammu and Kashmir which has choked every little space of peaceful political activities in Kashmir,” he said.

Mr. Malik said the Joint Resistance Leadership has called for a complete shut down on May 19 on the occasion of the Prime Minister’s visit to the State.

“JRL has asked people to gather at Lal Chowk and stage peaceful protest sit-in against gross human rights violations committed in Kashmir by India. Through this we intend to convey our dissent against killings of youth, spree of arrests, choking of political space and other acts of oppression and aggression,” Mr. Malik said.

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Printable version | Mar 8, 2021 10:26:00 AM |

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