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Lost Opportunity of Ramzan Cease Fire
|by Col. Rahul K. Bhonsle|
The holy month of Ramzan fell quite early this year commencing on 13 September. September ' October are considered as the peak for militant activities in Jammu and Kashmir in terms of infiltration and disruptive actions given the on set of winters in November with closure of passes. Traditionally when militancy in the Valley is at a low key, there has been a call for cease fire during the Ramzan. This Year as well it was no different.
However Centre and State governments rejected the call. The Defence minister said on 19 September, , 'We cannot decide unilaterally. It depends on them (militant groups) as well.' The Army had already rejected the call as GOC-in-chief of Northern Command, Lt Gen HS Panag stated, 'It may create hurdles in anti-insurgency operations and become a security threat in the months to follow.' General Panag was obviously referring to the break in counter militancy operations during the peak campaigning season and possible scope for recoupment provided to the militant groups.
The politics in Kashmir is now heating up with elections expected next year. Thus each party is attempting to make its agenda clear to the public. The National Conference seems to be rooting for development, cessation of hostilities, participation of the separatists in the elections process and human rights all emotive issues for the Valley public. Similar issues are being taken up by the PDP with its roots in Kashmir. The Congress on the other hand is banking on its support base in the Jammu region. Given the considerable improvement in the security situation in the area, the Congress hopes that it would be able to do an encore of 2002 when it won overwhelming support in Jammu. Thus Ramzan Cease Fire was not a priority for the Chief Minister.
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