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Centre announces Ramadan ceasefire in J&K a la Vajpayee (Roundup)

IANS  |  New Delhi 

The on Wednesday announced a in and Kashmir, asking security forces to halt their operations during to help "peace loving Muslims" observe the holy month in a peaceful environment.

The announcement, reminiscent of then Atal Bihari Vajpayee's similar initiative in 2000, comes barely two days before visits to inaugurate development projects and address the sixth convocation of a university in the winter capital.

A statement said that security forces had been told not to launch operations in and Kashmir during the holy month that begins on Thursday or Friday subject to the appearance of new moon.

The decision was taken "to help the peace loving Muslims observe Ramzan in a peaceful environment", the statement said.

conveyed the decision over phone to Mehbooba Mufti, who had appealed for a after an all-party meeting in on May 9 - a call that was questioned by the state BJP, the coalition partner of the PDP in the

A of the told IANS that called her, saying the Centre has decided "a during the month of Ramzan".

"wholeheartedly" welcomed the initiative and thanked Modi and "for their personal intervention".

"The month of is a harbinger of peace and such a decision will go a long way in creating a peaceful and amicable environment for a sustained dialogue."

But the statement said that security forces would reserve the right to retaliate if attacked or if it was essential to protect the lives of innocent people.

"(The) government expects everyone to cooperate in this initiative and help the Muslim brothers and sisters to observe Ramzan peacefully and without any difficulties.

"It is important to isolate the forces that bring a bad name to Islam by resorting to mindless violence and terror," it said.

Former and National Conference leader asked the militants to reciprocate to provide relief to the people during the month of fasting.

"Now if the militants don't respond in kind, they will stand exposed as the true enemies of the people," he tweeted.

Separatist leaders and militants groups, who are backed by Pakistan, were yet to react to the move.

It comes ahead of Modi's Jammu trip on Saturday during which he is scheduled to inaugurate a ropeway to shrine.

He will lay foundation stones of a 1.000 MW Pakal Dul hyrdo electric project and Jammu Ring Road from the Modi will also address the sixth convocation of Sher-e-Kashmir and (SKUAST-Jammu).

The first time the announced halt in its operations against militants was on November 19, 2000 when Vajpayee made a unilateral declaration of stopping combat operations in

This was for a period of one month during which was extended thrice till May 31, 2001. But violence didn't stop and over 1,200, including 445 civilians, were killed in militancy related incidents during the four months of the ceasefire, according Terrorism Portal that curates data on terrorism in the region.



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, May 16 2018. 19:22 IST