National security

Ceasefire in Kashmir during Ramzan has generated goodwill, Rajnath Singh tells The Hindu

The home minister said India was willing to work with Pakistan to tackle terrorism.

Minister of Home Affairs Rajnath Singh has said that the government’s decision to announce a ceasefire in the Kashmir Valley during the month of Ramzan has generated goodwill. The minister made the remarks during an interview with The Hindu that was published on Thursday.

“We implemented it during Ramzan as we did not want any civilian casualties,” Singh said. “We will see what needs to be done later but this was done to give relief to those Muslims who are inclined to peace. It is a muqaddas [pious] festival.”

The Centre asked the armed forces not to launch any operations during Ramzan, which ends on Thursday. This unilateral ceasefire is seen as an attempt to assuage the anger that has been driving local youth to militancy.

The minister said the decision was taken after consulting everyone and Prime Minister Narendra Modi was also on board. “Our government does not discriminate on the basis of religion but a terrorist does not have religion or does not belong to any caste or creed,” he said. “The decision was taken so that those Muslims who want peace do not face inconvenience during Ramzan.”

The minister said that though the ceasefire generated goodwill, recent attacks were a cause of concern. He mentioned the recent grenade attacks and the killing of two policemen at a court complex in Pulwama. Cross-border firing by Pakistan has gone down since the meeting between the directors general of military operations of India and Pakistan, Singh added. At the meeting, the two countries agreed to implement the ceasefire understanding of 2003 “in letter and spirit”.

“While infiltration continues, cross-border firing has gone down a bit,” Singh said. “Pakistan should stop this. The decision of the DGMOs is significant and it should be honoured.”

Singh said the government was willing to talk to Pakistan, but asked it to take action against terrorist groups functioning in the country. “We took several initiatives,” the minister claimed. “The prime minister broke all protocols and went to Pakistan to attend a wedding function [Nawaz Sharif’s granddaughter’s wedding]. We did not get the kind of response we expected for the gesture.” New Delhi is willing to help Islamabad tackle terrorists and work with it to wipe out terrorism from Pakistan, Singh added.

Asked about the decision to review Modi’s security following police reports of a plot to kill him, Singh said there were inputs other than the e-mail seized by the Pune Police on June 8 at the home of one of the five activists arrested for having links with the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist). The letter had reportedly suggested a plot to kill Modi in a “Rajiv Gandhi-type incident” during one of his roadshows.

“He is a popular PM, India is progressing fast under him and there would be many countries that do not like India’s rise and could go to any lengths to destabilise the country,” the minister told the newspaper. “We cannot rule out this possibility. A PM under whom the country has progressed so fast, worrying about his security is our concern.”

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