Over To Military Again

Centre has finally withdrawn unilateral ceasefire in Kashmir, doing just what everybody was expecting in the state. A day after Eid-ul-Fitr, the home minister announced the decision in a tweet, even though the decision to the effect had probably been taken two days earlier in a security review meeting chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.  “Security forces are being directed to take all necessary actions to prevent militants from launching attacks and indulging in violence and killing,” the home minister said in a statement.  Earlier, during his visit to J&K on June 7 and 8, Rajnath had reviewed the post-truce situation with the top brass of all security and Intelligence agencies in the Valley. In fact, withdrawal of the truce was in evidence on Sunday itself when security forces launched a massive search and combing operation in the dense forest area to flush out militants. This was the first such operation in a month when the government forces launched an operation on a tip-off. Two militants and an army personnel were killed while two terrorists were gunned down during the operation.

The centre's rationale for revoking the ceasefire is the lack of cooperation by the militant groups in its implementation. Militants had rejected the truce on the day one itself, terming it a "gimmick". According to an estimate, the number of militancy-related incidents shot up rapidly during the suspension of operations, even though there was a lesser loss of life. Two soldiers and two civilians died during the period. One of the soldiers Aurangzeb was abducted by the militants and killed. Though around a dozen militants too died, their killings happened along the border which didn't fall under the purview of the ceasefire. However, what has probably proved the last straw was the killing of the prominent journalist Shujaat Bukhari -albeit nobody has accepted the responsibility for it. 

This was for the second time only in the last thirty years of militancy that the ceasefire was announced by the centre. In November 2000, the then NDA Government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee had announced ceasefire on the occasion of Ramzan, which was extended four times until May 2001 but was withdrawn following an increase in violence. An estimated 800 people perished during this period.  

Looking back at the failed ceasefire, it is not difficult to conclude that it was an ill-advised move. Not that there shouldn't have been a ceasefire in the first place but that it was not properly thought through and certainly not geared to address the underlying factors of the turmoil in the state. At best, it was an ad-hoc gesture, a kind of an 'arrow-in-the-dark move'   which was destined to fail. Its miserable failure is thus an occasion for the centre to go back to drawing board and come up with a strategy that seeks to address the crisis than resort again to nostrums like Ceasefire.


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