Suspension of operations by security forces likely to continue in Valley after Ramadan: Sources

Suspension of anti-terror operations by security forces in Jammu in Kashmir is likely to continue after Ramadan. The Ministry of Home Affairs had on May 16, 2018, asked security forces not to launch operations in J&K during the holy month of Ramadan. The ministry had said that the decision had been taken to help the “peace-loving Muslims observe Ramadan in a peaceful environment”. The Centre had also said that the security forces reserved “the right to retaliate if attacked or if essential to protect the lives of innocent people”.

As per Kashmir Post sources, the government has received feedback that the move has got a positive response in the Kashmir Valley. However, in the wake of the ceasefire, there has been an increase in firing and shelling by Pakistan along the border, which does not want the move to be successful in the state. Security forces have been retaliating with full force and as per BSF reports, Pakistan has had to suffer three times more than India. The para-military force is said to have been sending daily reports of the operations at the border to the Home Ministry.

Meanwhile, there was a lull in firing along the border on Thursday after nine days of intense shelling by Pakistani troops that has left 11 people dead and 60 others injured. “There was no firing and shelling from the Pakistan side today. There is a lull”, a senior BSF officer told PTI. But, there was overnight firing and shelling by the Pakistan Army in Lam and Nowshera sectors of Rajouri district, in which one civilian suffered injury, a district official said.

Five civilians including a 10-year-old boy were killed and 14 others were injured as Pakistani troops rained mortars and opened heavy fire on Indian villages and posts along the International Border (IB) and LoC in Jammu, Kathua, Samba and Rajouri districts of Jammu region on Wednesday.

Shelled by Pakistan troops, the bustling Arnia border town and nearly 120 border hamlets along the Indo-Pak border now wear an empty look, with over one lakh villagers abandoning their homes to escape heavy shelling of mortar bombs.

On the other hand, Director General of J&K Police SP Vaid had on May 20, 2018, expressed hope that the Centre’s decision to halt anti-terror operations in the state during Ramadan would have a positive impact on everyone. “I hope this (unilateral ceasefire) initiative of the government of India will have a positive effect on everyone including the forces that are sponsoring terrorism,” the DGP had told reporters on the sidelines of a function in Srinagar.

“This initiative has been taken in the holy month of Ramadan and (Amarnath) yatra is also as auspicious as Ramadan. I am sure it will pass off peacefully,” he had added. Vaid had further said that the holy month of Ramadan is for everyone. “I think Pakistan should also observe it (by giving up violence),” he had said.