THE CONDITIONAL CEASEFIRE…?

Though the declaration of a conditional ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir during the holy month of Ramzan by the Union government today has been welcomed by and large by the political parties especially by the PDP, NC and Congress yet there is a substantial section of people who do not find any sanity in the decision. Those raising fingers against the decision do have genuine reasons to substantiate their stance, the main being that the Home Ministry should not have come out with such an announcement when the Defence Ministry had categorically stated that there would be no ceasefire during Ramzan. Such a situation only points towards absence of desired synchronization between these two vital Union ministries. However going by the announcement regarding ceasefire by the Union government, prima facie it appears that the decision of the government is quite appreciable and it clearly reveals the government’s intention to establish peace in the state of Jammu and Kashmir so that people heave a sigh of relief at least during the holy month as the terrorists operating especially in the valley have made the life of people miserable virtually turning the paradise on earth into a hell. Analyzing the Central government’s statement on the issue one can’t disagree with the fact that it is important to isolate the forces that bring a bad name to Islam by resorting to mindless violence and terror. Moreover Central Government’s expectation that everyone should cooperate in this initiative and help the Muslim brothers and sisters to observe Ramzan peacefully and without any difficulties, is well founded. What needs to be realized here is that this is not a blank ceasefire announcement where the terrorists and their sponsors would feel free to run their writ at their free will. While the Centre has asked the security forces not to launch operations in the region during the next thirty days, at the same time it has further reiterated that security forces reserve the right to retaliate if attacked or if it is felt that their action is essential to protect the lives of innocent people. Welcoming the Home Ministry announcement, the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti rightly expressed that the decision will help in creating a peaceful and amicable environment. However the statement of the former chief minister Omar Abdullah that “if terrorists fail to respond to the ceasefire offer they will stand exposed as the true enemies of the people” deserves all the more appreciation as without mincing of words he has hit the nail right on head. As Omar’s father and National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah stated while congratulating PM Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh, this decision is undoubtedly a great step forward by the Central government. It would not be wrong to say that this announcement of ceasefire is no less than a master stroke as the onus of establishing peace among the innocent people in the valley has now completely shifted upon the terrorists and the separatist camp who seem to be clue less. Their frustration can be well judged from Militant outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba rejecting the Ramzan ceasefire announced by the central government by calling it a drama further adding that ceasefire is no option and no thought can be given on such compromise that would be treachery to blood of martyrs. This reflects the panic created among the terror outfits sensing the fear of losing their popularity among a section of the people which comes to their rescue by resorting to stone pelting. Though there might be apprehensions in the minds of patriots about the terror groups reorganizing under the shadow of ceasefire during the holy month, but there are least chances of that given the fact that the Indian intelligence agencies are strictly monitoring the terrorists present within the valley which is evident from continuous killing of terrorists by the security forces. There have been definitely some compulsions at the state and national level in handling the J&K affairs that resulted in BJP opposing the ceasefire suggestion in the All Parties Meet in Srinagar and now its government at the Centre announcing the ceasefire. For this even the Congress party has criticized it despite welcoming it as an effort towards establishing peace. Congress has rightly stated that ceasefire should not be at the cost of lives of the security forces. Since the ceasefire announcement is already unambiguously clear in having addressed this issue too, this should dispel all their doubts. While the mainstream political parties in J&K i.e. PDP, NC and Congress have welcomed the move of the central government, only the coming days of Ramzan will reveal the practical implications of this sincere initiative of the Union government towards establishing peace in state of J&K especially Kashmir.