In a shocking U-turn by the central government, the ministry of home affairs announced a conditional ceasefire against terror outfits active in Kashmir. In a catastrophic and self harming move, the government has asked the Indian Army to suspend ongoing operations in the valley during the month of Ramzan which starts this week. The army and the security forces in the valley had achieved decisive momentum against the terror operatives in Kashmir even as soldiers slew five terrorists in Shopian district last week itself. Union home ministry however, dealt a severe blow to the advantage enjoyed by the forces in Kashmir by bringing the operations to an abrupt halt.
This comes on the heels of an unwarranted interference made by Jammu & Kashmir CM Mehbooba Mufti in military affairs when she suggested that the Indian Army should suspend operations in the valley during Ramzan month. Initially, the government seemed to have responded in the correct way by refusing to entertain this bizarre move. Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman rejected this absurd demand by Mehbooba Mufti and the entire liberal system in strong and unambiguous words. She had then made it clear that the Indian Army is entrusted with handling terrorism in the valley and bringing back peace. She had stated that no matter what, military operations in the valley will continue with the same enthusiasm. However, for some strange unexplained reason the government went back on its words. The army which was till now enjoying a free hand under the Modi government has been suddenly curbed for no reason.
Within few hours of the absurd move taken by the government, it became clear that terrorists are not going to budge. In fact, they saw a golden opportunity in the fact that the hands of the forces have been tied by the government. Soon after the announcement of ceasefire, terrorists opened fire at an army patrol in Shopian district of Kashmir. There was an exchange of fire between the joint team of CRPF, Special Operation Group (SoG) and the Army’s 23 PARA commandos. However, no casualties were reported. This shows that the terrorists don’t care for peace and ceasefire. In fact, such poor decisions only allow terror outfits to operate freely and lead them to believe that they no longer face threat from the forces.
The fact that centre’s move will bring no peace and in fact embolden the terror outfits became crystal clear after the Lashkar-e-Taiba officially rejected the ceasefire announced in Jammu & Kashmir. This is a major embarrassment for the union government and it seems that this poorly thought out move and has backfired right in its face. The government therefore seems to be confused about how to handle the entire situation. Unfortunately the reality is that while the government seems confused, the terrorists are firm on their agenda of keeping valley on the boil.
The idea of announcing ceasefire during Ramzan raises more questions than it answers. Should it be, then, taken as an admission of the fact that terrorism in the valley is religiously motivated? There can be no other reason as to why the government would have even mooted suspending operations during the Ramzan month. On one hand, the pseudo liberals claim that terrorist have no religion and on the other hand, they demand ceasefire during the holy Ramzan month. Secondly, if they want us to believe that army is the reason behind disharmony in Kashmir, why the proponents of inaction against misguided youth are are still moving with security cover. They should apply the same yardstick to themselves and being assured about the fact that terrorists will honour the ceasefire, there is no reason why they shouldn’t quit their security cover.
If the terrorists are disrupting peace in the valley, then giving terrorists a license to operate without being made to face intense operations is not a solution but an aggravation of the turmoil. It virtually amounts to giving a leeway to the terrorists active in the valley. The premise that Army operations hinder peace in Kashmir is a carefully nurtured falsehood and makes no sense. Killing terrorists can never be a hindrance to peace. In fact, it is a catalyst to peace in the valley. It is not disagreed that the government must have control over how the Army conducts itself. However, it does not mean that the government should take decisions without contemplating its after-effects. The forces must be kept in loop as far as possible while taking such decisions. General Bipin Rawat, the Chief of Army staff, had also wondered when this suggestion was made as to whether it can be guaranteed that terrorists will not attack the forces during the period of ceasefire. If the problem of Kashmir has to be solved, the forces must be given a free hand and terrorism must be eliminated in the valley. The moment any breathing space is given to terrorism in the valley, the security forces lose the strategic advantage they have gained after sacrificing men for the cause. The least the government can do now is to live up to its promise and revoke this unreasonable move and not to impose unnecessary fetters in the future. The Modi government has, till now, maintained the stand of not acting as an impediment to security operations. Aggressive posture against terrorism has yielded excellent results for the nation. Having gone so far in its fight against terrorism, there is no reason why the government should even contemplate altering its policy. One can only hope that this ceasefire was a mere aberration and that the government will return to its good old ways after making this strange mistake.