Government halts military operations in Kashmir during Ramadan

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More than 130 people have been killed this year in militant violence, prompting calls by the Jammu and Kashmir state government for a ceasefire during the fasting month that begins this week.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh informed Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti of the decision, which the latter whole-heartedly welcomed. It, however, clarified that the security forces reserve the right to retaliate if targeted by the terrorists.

The government expects everyone to cooperate in this initiative and help Muslim brothers and sisters to observe Ramadan peacefully and without any difficulties, the spokesperson said. What best a time to go for this significant decision than the onset of holy month of Ramadhan which promotes values of patience, self-restraint and tolerance, she said in her statement adding that it would also provide the necessary breather to the people from the violence which they have been craving for so long.

"I wholeheartedly welcome the Ramadan ceasefire and would like to thank Narendra Modi ji and Rajnath Singh ji for their personal intervention".

The prime minister had said only a "handful of separatists" were resorting to different tactics to create problems in the state and asserted that there will be no soft approach towards terrorism.

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The Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Governor N.N Vora on Thursday approved the ordinance passed by the cabinet minister of Mehbooba Mufti earlier to allow the death punishment to a child rapist below 12 years of age.

Security agencies were keeping their fingers crossed over a fresh unilateral ceasefire announced by the Centre during Ramzan beginning on Thursday, as a similar exercise almost two decades ago witnessed the killings of 129 people including 43 security personnel, according to officials.

Quoting data, the officials said that during the unilateral ceasefire, popularly known as NICO - "non initiation of combat operations", which was announced on November 19, 2000 and came into effect on November 28, terrorists carried out three "fidayeen" (suicide) attacks on Army cantonment, police control room and Srinagar airport, and two massacres.

Omar Abdullah tweeted and said if the militants don't respond to the ceasefire move, they will stand exposed as the true enemies of the people.

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