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Ramzan Ceasefire May be Extended, Rattled Pakistan’s Border Firing Proof of it Working: Govt

The spurt in firing by Pakistan at the same time that the Valley is experiencing relative peace is not a coincidence, said officials.

Arunima | CNN-News18Arunima24

Updated:May 24, 2018, 8:41 PM IST
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Ramzan Ceasefire May be Extended, Rattled Pakistan’s Border Firing Proof of it Working: Govt
Image for representation (Photo: PTI)
New Delhi: The central government is satisfied with the response the Ramzan ceasefire has received in Kashmir so far and is not averse to extending it beyond the holy month, top MHA sources told CNN-News18 on Thursday.

"The ceasefire is getting good response. Can't rule out extending it beyond Ramzan," a top official said. Sources said that home minister Rajnath Singh consulted the top brass of police and security forces on the issue. Most officers gave a thumbs up to the ceasefire and suggested that if things improve, then talks with Hurriyat should also be initiated.

Officials also pointed out that the increased shelling by Pakistani rangers along the International Border was also a result of the government's peace initiative in the Valley bearing fruit.

"Pakistan has accelerated ceasefire violations on IB because they are unhappy about ceasefire getting good response in Kashmir. We are getting daily reports from BSF and giving Pakistan a befitting reply," the official said.

At least five civilians were killed and 30 people, including six BSF jawans, were injured in shelling by Pakistani rangers on Wednesday. Nearly the entire 181km-long International Border from Kathua to Akhnoor in Jammu division was rattled by Pakistani firing.

The spurt in firing by Pakistan at the same time that the Valley is experiencing relative peace is not a coincidence, said officials.

According to Jammu and Kashmir’s DGP SP Vaid, there had been only six incidents of stone pelting were reported between May 17 and May 20, just after the introduction of the ceasefire.

"The initiative of Hon'ble PM has helped in general improvement in law & order. The situation especially in south Kashmir has eased and is serving as confidence building measure for families who want their boys to return back home," SP Vaid had tweeted.

PDP Leader Waheed Para welcomed the Centre's decision to consider an extension. "A congenial atmosphere is being created. On the ground there is a lot of relief. If Centre extends Ceasefire, it will be a welcome move," he said.

While forces are refraining from cordon and search operations, experts warn that one bad incident of violence could change the narrative in the valley yet again.

But the CRPF has disputed the figures put forward by the police and said the actual incidents of stone pelting were more than double.

Amid reports from Shopian of villagers clashing with Army over Iftar, union minister Jitendra Singh had also underlined that the Ceasefire was conditional.

"Those who follow Islam, if they can't respect the sanctity of Ramzan, you can't expect security forces to have sympathy. If terrorists and stone pelters indulge in violence then they will be treated as they ought to be treated," Singh had said.

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| Edited by: Aakarshuk Sarna
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