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Posted at: May 17, 2018, 2:08 AM; last updated: May 17, 2018, 11:38 AM (IST)

Centre declares ceasefire during Ramzan in J&K

Says security forces reserve right to retaliate if attacked, no lowering of guard
Centre declares ceasefire during Ramzan in J&K
PEACE OVERTURE: Newly-appointed BJP state chief Ravinder Raina (right) holds a lotus at a welcome rally at the party’s headquarters in Srinagar on Wednesday. PTI

Mukesh Ranjan

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 16

Endorsing the demand put forth by Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, the Centre on Wednesday asked the security forces not to launch anti-terror operations in the troubled state during the holy month of Ramzan. 

The move is seen as a bid to create an atmosphere of peace in the restive Valley and incidentally, the announcement comes two days ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s scheduled visit to Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday.

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said the decision had been taken “to help the peace-loving Muslims observe Ramzan in a peaceful environment”. It, however, went on to add that the security forces “reserve the right to retaliate if attacked or if essential to protect the lives of innocent people”, as the move is “not a concession to militants” and there will be “no lowering of guard during this period”.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, in a Twitter post, said, “It is important to isolate the forces that bring a bad name to Islam by resorting to mindless violence and terror.” He added that the  “government expects everyone to cooperate in this initiative and help the Muslim brothers and sisters to observe Ramzan peacefully”.

The announcement comes a week after Mehbooba Mufti had said that the Centre should consider a unilateral ceasefire in the state starting from Ramzan till the completion of the Amarnath Yatra in August. The fasting month of Ramzan is likely to start on Thursday. 

Lashkar: Truce no option, ‘favour negotiations’

Srinagar: Pakistan-based militant outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba said “ceasefire is no option” and “no thought can be given on such compromise”. In a mailed statement to local news agency KNS, Lashkar chief Mahmood Shah said the outfit is in favour of  negotiations “but the talks of negotiations in presence of armed occupational forces are lies”. TNS

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