During ceasefire in Kashmir, terror, violence and deaths shot up
In the one month that the government maintained ceasefire in Kashmir, violence reached a record high, official data has revealed. There were as many as 20 grenade attacks, 50 terror strikes and 41 deaths during May 16-June 17. Though the Home Ministry had said it would take a "long-term view" on ceasefire, it ordered resumption of operations yesterday due to these trends.
It was the first ceasefire in 17 years
The ceasefire announcement came after the first four months of 2018 saw an increase in unrest: till April, around 60 terrorists and 30 security personnel had died. So mid-May, Home Minister Rajnath Singh declared suspension of military operations, unless forces were attacked or they had to protect civilians. CM Mehbooba Mufti "wholeheartedly welcomed" the decision, the first in 17 years.
As terrorists continued attacks, violence increased this month
The ceasefire had an opposite effect than intended. From 18 terror incidents during April 17-May 17, it shot up to more than 50 in the next 30 days. The number of grenade attacks (20) was the highest in a month in two years. The 41 killed included 24 terrorists from Lashkar-e-Taiba, Hizbul Mujahideen, Jaish- e -Mohammad and Al Badr, and nine security personnel.
The killings made news for their audacity too
The type of killings triggered mass anger. On Shab-e-Qadr (Wednesday), the 'night of blessings', two non-combat policemen guarding a Pulwama court were shot dead. Thursday, esteemed journalist Shujaat Bukhari, 'Rising Kashmir' editor, was gunned down in Srinagar's highly-guarded Press Colony. In Shopian, Rashtriya Rifles jawan Aurangzeb, who was on leave, was abducted from his way home on Eid. His bullet-riddled body was found later.
Only drop seen in civilian killings by security forces
In fact, the only drop this month was seen in civilians killed by security forces. Four people died, two of them in the last week itself. Compared to 200 stone-pelting incidents during Ramzan 2017, there were 60 this time.
Decision to resume operations taken after high-level meet with Modi
After a high-level meeting chaired by the PM Friday on the security situation in Kashmir, Rajnath Singh announced yesterday they are resuming operations. The ministry commended the forces for showing "exemplary restraint during Ramazan despite grave provocations," but noted "terrorists have continued with their attacks." Singh iterated the government is "committed to working for creating an environment free of terror and violence in J&K."
Government decision apparently hits plans of separatists hard
This might cause some worry for separatists too. According to reports, leaders Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Yasin Malik and Syed Ali Shah Geelani were planning to meet this upcoming week to decide on the government's offer of peace talks. "But Bukhari's killing has cast a shadow on everything," an anonymous separatist told HT. Farooq has demanded an "international and impartial probe to nab Shujaat's killers."