Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and Peoples Democratic Party leader Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday requested the Centre to stop search operations in the state during Ramzan, which is likely to begin on Monday or Tuesday.
“Request the government of India to cease crackdowns, and search operations during Ramzan this year so that people aren’t subjected to harassment and can observe the holy month in peace,” Mufti tweeted. “Last year’s ceasefire helped in providing a huge sense of relief. Hope electoral compulsions are put aside.”
The PDP chief also asked militants to stop attacks on security forces. “I also want to tell militants that they should understand that this blessed month is a month of prayer and repentance and so they should not carry out any attack in this month,” PTI quoted her as saying.
Mufti said a ceasefire would provide Prime Minister Narendra Modi an opportunity to prove that he was following former Prime Minister AB Vajpayee’s policies. “Modi keeps on saying that he wants to follow Vajpayee’s policy of ‘insaniyat [humanity]’, ‘jamhooriyat [democracy]’ and ‘Kashmiriyat [cultural values of Kashmiris]’ and I feel that announcing a Ramzan ceasefire will be the biggest proof of democracy and humanity,” she added.
The former chief minister alleged that while elections were going on in the country, the Centre had turned the state “into a battlefield” and criticised it for banning groups such as the Jamaat-e-Islami and the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, suspending trade across the Line of Control, and closing the highway for civilian traffic twice a week.
Last year, the Centre had announced a unilateral ceasefire on May 16 during Ramzan but it was discontinued the following month as militants kept up their attacks. According to officials, there were 20 grenade attacks, 50 militant strikes and 41 killings in Kashmir during the ceasefire last year. The most high-profile attack was the killing of Rising Kashmir editor Shujaat Bukhari, who was shot dead outside his office in Srinagar in June.
Soon after the ceasefire came to an end, the PDP-led state government crumbled as the Bharatiya Janata Party walked out of the coalition. The state then came under Governor’s Rule and six months later under President’s Rule. Dates for Assembly elections have not been announced yet.