Opposition targets govt as ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir ends
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Opposition targets govt as ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir ends

The BJP-PDP ruling combine blamed unending violence for the Centre’s decision to restart operations in the Valley, saying the militants had failed to reciprocate the peace overture.

india Updated: Jun 17, 2018 23:32 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Srinagar
Casefire,Violence in Kashmir,Anti-terror operations
Protesters clash with security personnel in Srinagar on Saturday.(Waseem Andrabi/HT Photo)

The Opposition on Sunday termed as policy failure the government’s decision to resume operations in Kashmir after a month’s break, saying the Centre had on plan in place to resolve the 30-year-old insurgency.

The BJP-PDP ruling combine blamed unending violence for the Centre’s decision to restart operations in the Valley, saying the militants had failed to reciprocate the peace overture.

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah termed the decision as failure of everyone who wanted peace. “The ceasefire or NICO was the Centre’s initiative & yet these people are celebrating its failure as if it had been announced by our enemies. Its failure is the failure of everyone who wanted to give peace a chance,’’ Abdullah tweeted.

The National Conference leader’s tweet came soon after Union home minister Rajnath Singh announced withdrawal of Non Initiation of Counter-Insurgency (Nico), directing security forces to take “all necessary action” to prevent militants from launching attacks. The Centre had on May 16 unilaterally called a truce during the Islamic holy month of Ramzan.

Forty-one people were killed, a record 20 grenade attacks launched and 50 militant strikes were reported in the Valley during the ‘truce month’, a big surge in violence.

The Centre would be responsible for civilians deaths following the resumption of military operations, Jammu and Kashmir Congress president Ghulam Ahmad Mir said.

“The government of India has no road map or concrete policy about Kashmir. It is not even clear whether the Centre had taken its coalition partner PDP on board over withdrawal of the ceasefire,” Mir said.

Kashmir was a sensitive issue and needed a consensus from all parties, he said. The Centre took the decision without doing any groundwork and the move didn’t find any takers, he said.

“The Centre also appointed an interlocutor, instead of politics or resolution of important issues, the interlocutor talks about potable water and transformers,” the Congress leader said.

In New Delhi, his party colleague Pawan Khera said Kashmir was the Modi government’s biggest “failures” and asked the Centre to make public the security measures taken for the Amarnath Yatra that begins June 28.

The decision to restart operations was sad, Jammu and Kashmir’s road and building minister Naeem Akthar said.

“It could have led to way out of bloodshed and destruction. But for that, everyone had to be on board,’’ the senior Peoples Democratic Party leader said, adding his party would continue to strive for peace with dignity.

“It was an important measure that could have set stage for purposeful dialogue but was not reciprocated except with provocative attacks.”

J&K deputy chief minister and senior BJP leader Kavinder Gupta said the ceasefire was announced keeping in view the holy month of Ramzan.

“Unfortunately the response from the other side i.e. militant groups, Pakistan and Hurriyat was never positive and there was a surge in violence, hence it was suspended,’’ Gupta said.

While the ceasefire on borders was meant for Pakistan and suspension of operations in the Valley was for militants, it was not reciprocated by either side, he said.

The separatist leadership was tight-lipped.

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who is a fairly active on Twitter, didn’t react to the decision. But on Saturday in his Eid sermon, the head priest of the Valley said Kashmir was a political issue that couldn’t be resolved militarily.

“Peace cannot be created in a vacuum. Kashmir is a political dispute not a law and order issue,” said Farooq, who leads the moderate faction of the Hurriyat Conference.

The government, he said, should revisit “Vajpayee’s policy of engagement among three stakeholders, which is the assured way to move forward”. He was referring to former prime minister Atal Bihar Vajpayee’s Kashmir doctrine that includes talks with Pakistan.

First Published: Jun 17, 2018 22:58 IST