Centre announces ceasefire in J&K during Ramzan

Itihad Party protesting against Narendra Modi’s visit to Kashmir in 2015

"My gratitude also to the leaders & parties who participated in the All Party Meeting & helped build consensus towards this announcement", Mehbooba tweeted.

The Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had last month approved an ordinance allowing courts to award death penalty to those convicted of raping girls under 12 years. "I welcome this", Dr Abdullah said.

Addressing a press conference in Srinagar on Thursday Er Rasheed said that a police officer in Handwara has already begun the operation to sabotage the ceasefire process, obviously at the behest of his seniors.

Abdullah said if the terrorists did not respond in kind to the Centre's unilateral halt on operations during the month of Ramzan, they will be exposed as enemies of the people.

Mehbooba further said that such decision will in future create a peaceful environment for a sustained dialogue.

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"This marks the beginning of listening of the story of pain of the state's people by the country's leadership", she said.

The J&K Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) while welcoming the decision emphasised that all sides should put in strenuous efforts to restore peace in the Valley. In 2000, then PM Atal Behari Vajpaee had announced a Ramzan ceasefire, a much appreciated gesture, to win over Hizbul Mujahideen, the key Pakistan-backed terrorist force in Kashmir.

"The initiative is meant to give common masses and right-thinking people of J&K a respite from violence and encourage them to isolate militants, thus breaking the cycle of bloodshed, funerals and recruitment of locals into their ranks", said an official.

"We have a strong view..." At that time she was vehemently opposed by Jammu and Kashmir's BJP unit which asserted that such a step was not in "national interest". "On this issue, BJP doesn't share the opinion that unilateral ceasefire should be declared". But violence didn't stop and over 1,200, including 445 civilians, were killed in militancy related incidents during the four months of the ceasefire, according South Asia Terrorism Portal that curates data on terrorism in the region. The Hizb, Laskhar, Jaish and other groups dismissed the ceasefire as "drama" and "a trap" laid by the Indian government.

Nuclear-armed India and Pakistan each administer part of Kashmir, but both claim it in its entirety.

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