Govt ends Kashmir ceasefire, says anti-terror operations will resume2 min read . Updated: 18 Jun 2018, 02:55 AM IST
The Union home ministry's decision on Kashmir ceasefire comes days after militants killed a senior journalist and a soldier
New Delhi: Days after journalist Shujaat Bukhari was gunned down and Indian Army soldier Aurangzeb was abducted and killed by militants in Kashmir, the Union home ministry on Sunday called off the suspension of operations by security forces.
In a statement, the ministry said: “The government of India has decided not to extend the suspension of operations in Jammu and Kashmir announced in the beginning of Ramzan. Operations against terrorists will resume."
The ministry also said the government commended the “security forces for having shown exemplary restraint during Ramazan despite grave provocations". “It is important for all those who have interests of people of Jammu and Kashmir, especially the youth in mind, to isolate the terrorists and work towards bringing back misguided youth to the right path. On the other hand, terrorists have indulged in wanton killing of innocent civilians and attacks on security forces."
The decision was taken at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Union home minister Rajnath Singh, national security adviser Ajit Doval and Indian Army chief Bipin Rawat on Friday.
According to senior officials familiar with the developments, the recent events of violence in Kashmir had prompted the government to suspend the “ceasefire", which was part of a peace initiative in the valley.
“The government’s special interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma will continue to hold dialogues with all parties willing to hold talks. We will not ask the troops to stand down any further because the militants in the valley have misused the good faith in which we acted. The troops will now conduct operations as planned," said an official, requesting anonymity.
Senior security force officials welcomed the move. The Indian Army is expected to resume search and destroy operations, and cordon and search operations.
Another person familiar with the development added that the decision was taken keeping in mind the Amarnath Yatra, starting on 28 June. The attack on pilgrims in July last year had led to the death of seven people, while injuring 19 others. The militant attack had put the spotlight right back on cross-border terrorism sponsored by Pakistan.
Back then, India’s intelligence establishment had said that “there was enough evidence to believe that militants were regrouping and planning concerted terror attacks in Kashmir". Senior intelligence officials were also of the view that Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) leader Hafiz Saeed’s dwindling powers had catapulted Masood Azhar to greater strength, which had prompted the Pakistani establishment to increase their support to Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM). With the LeT and Hizbul Mujahideen decapitated and rudderless due to lack of a strong leadership in Kashmir, JeM will prove to be a challenge.
“Now that security forces have cornered the militants and are wiping them out, Shujaat Bukhari’s killing and the killing of civilians and abduction of army men is an act of desperation by terror outfits," said an intelligence official, requesting anonymity.
“The terrorists used this month to regroup, rearm and recalibrate their plans. A long and bloody summer lies ahead," said Gaurav Arya, former army officer and defence expert.