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LeT declares Id ceasefire

SRINAGAR DEC. 4. The militant outfit, Lashkar-e-Taiba, today announced a four-day unilateral ceasefire as a "goodwill gesture" to the people of Kashmir to celebrate Id-ul-Fitr. In a statement to the local news agency CNS, the LeT spokesman, Abu Huzaifa, said the ceasefire would start a day before Id.

Id marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan and will be celebrated on Friday or Saturday, based on the appearance of the moon.

This is for the first time that a militant organisation has announced a ceasefire on the eve of Id.

Mr. Huzaifa said that LeT members would not carry out attacks on the security forces during the four days and that suitable directions had been given to the "field commanders." ``This ceasefire also covers politicians and surrendered militants who are on our hit-list.'' The decision had been taken at the highest level.

Saif-ul-Islam, "chief commander" of the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, meanwhile, sent his greetings to the people of Kashmir on the eve of Id.

'A positive step'

PTI reports:

``This is a welcome and positive step as it will help save many lives. It would have been welcomed more heartily if it had been for the entire holy month of Ramadan,'' the Deputy Chief Minister, Mangat Ram Sharma said.

State's Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Muzaffar Hussain Beig, while hoping that the announcement had actually been made by LeT, told PTI in Delhi that ``although the ceasefire may be symbolic, it is a step in the right direction. We would have liked it more if it was turned into a forever affair.''

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