The Centre is likely to announce within the next few days a ceasefire for the holy month of Ramadan in Jammu and Kashmir, following the Hizbul Mujahideen's statement that any truce proposal from India will be considered by the United Jehad Council (UJC).
Sources say that terrorist organisations' response has been positive and the Centre will announce the ceasefire before the commencement of Ramadan - next week.
The Hizbul Mujahideen on Friday, said any ceasefire proposal from India will be considered by the United Jehad Council (UJC), an alliance of several terror outfits operating in Jammu and Kashmir. The UJC is headed by HM Chief Syed Salahuddin.
"Ramadan will begin next week and negotiations are on with the militants. The Hizb remarks on the issue are a positive step," the sources said.
"People in Jammu and Kashmir want peace and this would be the right beginning. The truce is aimed at restoring lasting peace in the insurgency-marred state," they added.
Back channel negotiations are in progress with the terrorists to pursue them to agree to the ceasefire, the sources said.
In a statement faxed to local journalists from PoK's Muzaffarabad, Hizb spokesman said the outfit cannot take any individual decision about the ceasefire.
"Any proposal from India will be discussed by the UJC constituents before taking any decision. The decision by the UJC on ceasefire will be binding on the outfit," he added.
However, the spokesman said, India will have to accept its four demands - accepting Kashmir as a dispute, security forces taken to pre-1989 positions, stopping of all human rights violations and release of all prisoners unconditionally - before discussing the truce offer.
National Conference president Omar Abdullah on September 11, asked the Centre to hold talks with Hizbul Mujahideen. "The Government should hold talks with Hizbul Mujahideen and the outfit should be made part of the dialogue process," he said.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on September 11, also offered to announce a ceasefire during the holy month of Ramadan and even beyond, provided the ultras declared cessation of violence.
Mr Azad had said he would be happy to respond to a ceasefire announcement by the terrorists during the holy month.
"From the government's side, I will be happy to respond to ceasefire which should not be limited to the holy month only, but can be extended even beyond that period in case the militants declare to shun the violence," he added.
The Chief Minister expressed the hope that the truce would not only help in progress and development of the state, but also provide an opportunity to the people to get rid of violence and miseries forever.
On July 24, 2000, Hizb Commander-in-chief Majid Dar announced a unilateral truce in Srinagar, which the Centre had reciprocated.
Hizb chief Syed Salahuddin had initially backed the move but withdrew his support under pressure from Pakistan on August 8. He had demanded that Pakistan be included in talks between Hizb and the Indian Government which New Delhi had rejected.
The month-long November 2000 ceasefire was extended twice till May 31,2001. The Government withdrew the Non-Initiation of Combat Operations (NICO) against the terrorists on May 26, 2001.