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Jammu Kashmir

Posted at: May 17, 2018, 1:22 AM; last updated: May 17, 2018, 1:22 AM (IST)

Fingers crossed, forces hope for temporary peace

Fingers crossed, forces hope for temporary peace

Majid Jahangir

Tribune News Service

Srinagar, May 16

As New Delhi announced a halt in anti-militancy operations during Ramzan on Wednesday, three speculative cordon and search operations (CASOs) were carried out by security forces against suspected militants across Kashmir. No militant was arrested and no recoveries were made during the search operations.

The cordon and search operations — which are considered the backbone of anti-militancy operations in security circles and were reintroduced last year after over a decade — will not be carried out during Ramzan.

Director General of Police Shesh Paul Vaid made it clear that the security forces would not carry out speculative CASOs to hunt down militants during Ramzan. “But we will retaliate if the terrorists fire upon us. Speculative CASOs will not be carried out,” Vaid said.

A senior Army officer in Kashmir hoped that the major initiative would help in bringing peace. The Army officer said they would ensure the safety of their convoys and camps. “We will follow the halting of operations and ensure people have a peaceful Ramzan,” he said.

The security apparatus in Kashmir has been worried over the civilian killings during encounters which often trigger bouts of violence across Kashmir. At least 20 civilians have been killed in clashes this year near gunfight sites.

A Senior Superintendent of Police said it was not the number of active militants that was a worry for the forces, but the “hostile population that would do everything to save militants even at the cost of their lives during counter-insurgency operations”. “Besides, the militant funerals will attract more youth to pick up gun. At least, if there is no militant killing in Ramzan, we will be able to save youth from taking up arms to some extent,” the Senior Superintendent of Police said.

“This time, we have around 250 militants and this number may increase a little in the coming days. But this figure will be always be manageable. The ceasefire has given us advantage to bring temporary peace. We also need to follow it up with other measures,” he said.

It, however, remains to be seen how the militants will reciprocate to the ceasefire.

“Militancy is always driven by emotions and romanticism and if they get killed during gunfights, it makes them significant. The ceasefire makes them insignificant and that is why I believe that militants may not reciprocate and even may try to spurt attacks,” said a former counter-insurgency officer. “If there is a spurt in attacks, it will naturally bring criticism to the Centre’s move,” he said.

Inspector General, CRPF, Srinagar Sector, Ravideep Singh Sahi said: “We will implement the ceasefire on the ground. Peace should be given a chance and right-thinking people should isolate those who are hell-bent on creating violence,” Sahi said.

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