India announces ceasefire in Kashmir during Ramzan

The government of India on Wednesday announced a ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir during Ramzan, saying this was necessary to help “peace loving Muslims” observe the holy month in a peaceful environment.

A Home Ministry statement said that forces had been told not to launch operations in Jammu and Kashmir during the holy month. The decision was taken “to help the peace loving Muslims observe Ramzan in a peaceful environment”, it said.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh conveyed the decision to Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who had made an appeal for a Ramzan ceasefire in the state on May 9. But the statement said that forces would reserve the right to retaliate if attacked or if it was essential to protect the lives of innocent people.

“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.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday welcomed the Centre’s announcement saying: “I wholeheartedly welcome the Ramadan ceasefire. The month 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.”

The Chief Minister thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh for their intervention.

Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said the unilateral ceasefire followed a demand from all political parties except the Bharatiya Janata Party.

“Now if the militants don’t respond in kind, they will stand exposed as the true enemies of the people,” the National Conference leader tweeted.

He said this would be called a non-initiation of combat operations. “It’s what they called it during the Vajpayee-Advani era as well but it’s still a unilateral ceasefire. A rose by any other name…”

The central government announced on Wednesday a ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir during Ramadan, saying this was necessary to help “peace loving Muslims” observe the holy month in a peaceful environment.