New Delhi: A week into the Ramzan ceasefire announcement in Kashmir, MoS Prime Minister’s Office, Jitendra Singh clarified that the cessation is conditional and does not tie down the security forces. Singh told News18 that the ensuing violence since the announcement only proves that the militants indulge in violence because of foreign influence and not government action.
The Centre made the surprise announcement last Wednesday while CRPF data suggest 21 incidents of stone-pelting were reported since May 17. Three CRPF jawans were injured and 28 vehicles damaged.
Other incidents of grenade lobbing, bank loot, shooting and an encounter in Kupwara has also been reported since May 17. On Monday, clashes were reported from Shopian during an Army-organized Iftar party. A 14-year-old girl sustained bullet injury after the personnel resorted to firing in wake of stone-pelting by civilians.
Reacting to these incidents, Jitendra Singh said that this exposes terrorists and their sympathisers. "It only shows that people who follow Islam do not have any conviction to follow the tenets of Quran, the sanctity of Ramzan and therefore, I am proud that forces are taking retaliatory measures. Then you cannot blame our forces," he said.
When asked if he would convey to the Prime Minister and Home Minister that the decision of ceasefire should be reviewed, Singh said that it was not his mandate to inform them but added that it was clear to all concerned that the cessation was based on conditions.
"If you don't wish to be disturbed during the holy fast then I am there to help you follow your faith. If you do not, then nothing will prevent me from retaliating and that is precisely what is happening in the Valley," Singh told News18.
Sources told News18 that the decision to announce the cessation was taken not on Mehbooba Mufti’s insistence but because of Centre's special representative to the Valley, Dineshwar Sharma.
Sharma told the central government that the encounters and killing of militants were alienating the youth and fueling recruitment among terror groups.
Jitendra Singh reflected that now it proves that the youth was not alienated by government actions but because they are being manipulated by Pakistan-backed separatists.
"This is also a vindication of what our interlocutor has said. If any action from our side is alienating the youth, (which I don't believe is true) we are willing to restrain ourselves. If they still carry on with violence then it has because of other factors. This is a mercenary freedom struggle. Separatism in Kashmir is politics by other means,” he said.
Singh added, “I am glad that the conditional ceasefire announcement has exposed the real faces (of separatists) in Kashmir."