Minister of State for Home Hansraj Ahir said on Sunday that the government would be forced to revoke the Ramzan ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir if “cross-border terrorism” by Pakistan continued, PTI reported.
In May, the government asked the armed forces not to launch any operations in the state during the month of Ramzan, which ends on June 14. However, alleged ceasefire violations by Pakistan across the border have been reported in Jammu and adjacent districts for nearly three weeks, causing casualties among several civilians and soldiers.
“We had decided to suspend operations in view of Ramzan,” Ahir told reporters in Maharashtra’s Yavatmal. “However, there is no respite in cross-border terrorism and ceasefire violations on the part of Pakistan. We will be constrained to revoke the ceasefire agreement.”
The provisions of the Ramzan ceasefire allow India to retaliate if Pakistan initiates unprovoked firing, he said, adding that India believes in the “no-first-strike” policy.
The Home Ministry had said that the security forces could retaliate if attacked, “or if essential to protect the lives of innocent people”.
In Jammu and Kashmir, Deputy Chief Minister Kavinder Gupta said on Sunday that India should give Pakistan a “befitting reply” if provoked. “Pakistan is a cowardly nation which cannot be trusted,” he said, according to ANI. “We condemn repeated ceasefire violation by them. We had said that we will not shoot a bullet but will give befitting reply if bullets come from their side.”
Gupta’s statement contradicts Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s stand on the issue – she has
repeatedly appealed for dialogue to resolve the crisis in the state. “Till both the countries come closer, situation will not improve,” she told her party workers on Sunday. “Jammu and Kashmir bears the maximum impact of the relationship between India and Pakistan. So, our party’s agenda is that they should talk to each other.”
Ahir’s statement came after the latest alleged ceasefire violation on Sunday. Two Border Security Force personnel were killed after Pakistani rangers allegedly resorted to unprovoked and indiscriminate firing along the International Border in the Pragwal area of Akhnoor sector. The heavy firing and mortar shelling injured 13 people and forced civilians to abandon their homes and move to safer places.