United Jehad Council (UJC), a Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) based umbrella group of 13 militant outfits, on Wednesday decided to suspend militant activities in Jammu and Kashmir in the wake of devastating floods.
"Militant operations will remain suspended till the relief and rehabilitation of badly-affected people reach to a satisfactory extent. Relief and rehabilitation should be the priority right now," said UJC supremo Syed Salahuddin, who also heads Valley-based largest indigenous armed group Hizbul Mujahideen.
The suspension of militant activities for such a long period has come 14 years after the Hizbul Mujahideen declared a ceasefire in 2000, which opened doors for dialogue between the government and the armed groups.
In a telephonic interview to a local news agency Kashmir News Service from PoK's capital Muzaffarabad, Salahuddin described the recent killing of a National Conference leader as an act carried out by "fringe elements". "There are some in possession of weapons and use them for their political interests," he said, without referring to any group.
NC leader Mohammed Lateef Gupkari was killed on September 21, when the Valley was battling with floods, in the old city.
The outfit has issued no timeline for cessation of its activities.
However, the army and police continue their operations against militants. One militant was killed, one arrested and three hideouts were busted in the past three days in the Kashmir Valley.
The militant commander hailed the youth of the Valley for their efforts during the floods. "Kashmiri youth saved Indian soldiers whose boat had collided in south Kashmir. These youth saved all as per their cultural and religious teachings," he claimed.
He accused the government of India of "shedding crocodile tears". "The Modi government is shedding crocodile tears. It has no interest in people of Kashmir," he alleged.
Salahuddin said the international community, especially the United Nations, Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC), UNICEF, human rights organisations and other world aid bodies, should come forward to help Kashmiris.
"I also appeal to Pakistan, as one of Kashmir's primary stake holders, to mobilise all its embassies for the welfare of people of Jammu and Kashmir," he said.