Once again the Centre announced ceasefire during Ramzan in Kashmir. Security forces have been asked not to launch operations in the region during the next thirty days. What guarantee is available with Govt that there would be no violation from the terrorists’ side or Pakistan provoking them to carry out mischief in Kashmir Valley? Earlier this month, after an all-party meeting, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had appealed the central government to consider a unilateral ceasefire in the state starting from Ramzan in mid-May till the completion of the Amarnath yatra in August. The Indian Army Chief Bipin Rawat recently had expressed concerns over the youth in the valley picking up the gun, and said that Kashmiri youth have to understand that the security forces haven’t been so brutal. Neither the forces trigger-happy to shoot at the unarmed civilians but when forced into the circumstances where life is at peril then evasive action has to be taken. Gen. Rawat is right in anticipating that there will be continuing attacks on security forces under a unilateral ceasefire. Nevertheless, it is imperative to curtail the violence that people in Jammu and Kashmir suffer, and a ceasefire might provide the best opportunity to de-escalate. No doubt wherever a tougher stand has to be taken security forces have done that also with confidence. We also know that those who pick up stones to kill someone have no religion. We also know that Pakistan and its agencies are active in Kashmir valley to instigate violence and under these circumstance asking for peace and maintaining ceasefire on the borders is a tall promise we are asking from our neighbour. Even if army suspends operations in Valley which other agency is capable of providing peace the Kashmiris were yearning for so long. The 2000 ceasefire experience also showed that casualties among the security forces could have been minimised had more urgent attention been paid to tighten security of defence installations and personnel. The Vajpayee administration did not believe continuing attacks and violation of the ceasefire and remained unprepared for the eventualities which caused relaxation in alertness. Now with ceasefire announced forces will have to be extra cautious so that past does not repeat now.
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