In­dia Calls Cease­fire In Kash­mir For Holy Month of Ra­madan

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In­dia will sus­pend all mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions against rebels in Kash­mir dur­ing the holy month of Ra­madan for the first time in nearly two decades. The move, which comes af­ter months of in­tense fight­ing in the dis­puted Hi­malayan re­gion, will “help peace-lov­ing Mus­lims ob­serve Ramzan [Ra­madan] in a peace­ful en­vi­ron­ment”, In­dia’s home min­istry said in a se­ries of tweets on Wed­nes­day.

How­ever, In­dian se­cu­rity forces, of which there are an es­ti­mated 500,000 in Kash­mir, “re­serve the right to re­tal­i­ate if at­tacked”, the min­istry added. Me­hbooba Mufti, chief min­is­ter of the Kash­mir gov­ern­ment, said on Wed­nes­day he hoped In­dia’s de­ci­sion “will cre­ate a peace­ful and am­i­ca­ble en­vi­ron­ment for sus­tained di­a­logue”.

There was no im­me­di­ate re­sponse from rebel groups.

The move marks the first cease­fire for Ra­madan since In­dian au­thor­i­ties and Hizbul Mu­jahideen, the largest rebel group, briefly stopped fight­ing in 2000. In­dia and Pak­istan both claim the Hi­malayan re­gion of Kash­mir, which has been di­vided be­tween the two nu­clear pow­ers since 1947 across the so-called Line of Con­trol (LoC), in its en­tirety. Anti-In­dia sen­ti­ment runs deep among Kash­mir’s mostly Mus­lim pop­u­la­tion, a ma­jor­ity of whom ei­ther want the In­dian-ad­min­is­tered por­tion to be­come in­de­pen­dent or merge with Pak­istan.

Photo: AFP

In­dian se­cu­rity per­son­nel and pro­test­ers clash fol­low­ing a gun­bat­tle be­tween se­cu­rity forces and sus­pected rebels in Srinagar on May 5, 2018.

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