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No launch of anti-militancy ops in J&K during Ramzan; CM says holy month has brought peace; Guns no solution, affirms PDP

No launch of anti-militancy ops in J&K during Ramzan; CM says holy month has brought peace; Guns no solution, affirms PDP

New Delhi, May 16 (UNI) The Centre has asked security forces not to launch counter-terror operations in Jammu and Kashmir during the holy month of Ramzan, which begins on Thursday.

The decision, it said, was taken to help peace loving Muslims observe Ramzan.

Devout Muslims observe fast during the month in a peaceful environment.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has informed state Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti of the Centre's decision.

However, security forces will reserve the right to retaliate if attacked or if essential to protect the lives of innocent people.

'Government expects everyone to cooperate in this initiative and help Muslim brothers & sisters to observe Ramzan peacefully and without any difficulties.

'It is important to isolate the forces that bring a bad name to Islam by resorting to mindless violence and terror,' a Home Ministry release said here on Wednesday.

In Srinagar, welcoming the decision, Ms Mufti said the month is a harbinger of peace and the step will go a long way to create a peaceful and amicable environment for a sustained dialogue.

Ms Mehbooba also expressed gratitude to the leaders and parties, who participated in the All Party Meeting & helped build a consensus towards this announcement.

The decision by the Centre came days after an All Party Meeting of J&K, chaired by Ms Mufti in the summer capital, suggested an unilateral halt of operations against militants during the month of Ramazan.

'I would like to thank @narendramodi ji & @rajnathsingh ji for their personal intervention. My gratitude also to the leaders & parties who participated in the All Party Meeting & helped build consensus towards this announcement,' Ms Mufti wrote on micro-blogging site Twitter.

Another UNI report from the summer capital said the ruling Peoples Democratic Party termed the decision a big relief for the people of Kashmir, who had borne the brunt of hostilities and violence for decades.

PDP General Secretary Mansoor Hussain Soharwardhy said the step should be seized as a vital opportunity by the people who have been yearning for peace and reconciliation for long.

He added that the GoI has not only acceded to the plea made by Ms Mufti but has also upheld the sanctity and sacred nature of the month of Ramazan, which every year comes with the universal message of peace, harmony and brotherhood.

The PDP General Secretary said it was high time for Pakistan and other stakeholders to take a stand on the step announced by the Central government which could prove to be a confidence building measure, leading to a meaningful and result oriented dialogue process that has the capacity to take Jammu and Kashmir out of the vicious cycle of mayhem, bloodshed and uncertainty.

'By virtue of such an important decision, the political groups irrespective of their ideologies and stands can come together and play a constructive role in saving precious lives from getting lost in oblivion. There is a dire need for all the political groups to get Kashmir out of the crises and exhibit assiduousness towards the younger generation of the state. This is the time when we can show to the world that we care for our people and want them to live in peace and tranquillity with dignity and honour,' Mr Mansoor said.

He said that it has to be understood that the guns have never resolved any issue across the globe and that it is the dialogue by virtue of which the disputes world over have been addressed and amicably resolved.

Mr Mansoor said Pakistan must respond positively to such a decision and reciprocate with positive approach so that peace that has so been remained elusive between the two countries could become a living reality.

The PDP General Secretary also took a dig at the opposition National Conference, stating that the party which has the history of betrayals and backstabbing the people at crucial junctures, stands once again exposed before the masses all across.

He also expressed hope that the announcement will act as a milestone in the political process and measures of reconciliation and dialogue will follow. Mr Mansoor said time has come when one can look forward to witness the felicity of peace in the region and witness the younger generation striving to build the state afresh instead of treading on the path of destruction and chaos.

UNI AKS-VT-ABS RP1821

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