Editorial : Peace eludes Kashmir this time again

By Deepika Bhan

As was being expected the central government has not extended the unilateral ceasefire in Kashmir. This year Ramzan and Eid witnessed an unprecedented increase in the number of terror related violence in Kashmir. This period marks an important religious activity for the Muslim majority and yet the valley suffered a lot at the hands of the Pakistan backed terrorist groups. On one hand Pakistan was inciting violence inside the valley and on the other hand it was continuously violating the ceasefire at the LoC and the International Border in the state.

The central government had declared unilateral ceasefire during the Ramadan period hoping for a reciprocal. But the terror groups and the separatists exploited the unilateral ceasefire time for regrouping and reinforcing their terror tactics. As per the data collected by the central home ministry, terror-related incidents in the Kashmir valley increased by more than 100 percent during the Ramadan ceasefire.

Terrorists killed civilians and attacked security forces almost every day during this time. Going by the data made available, from 19th April to 16th May, there were 25 terrorist-related cases reported. But after the announcement of unconditional ceasefire on 17th May, as many as 65 cases were reported after that. These included 23 cases of grenade attacks and 24 cases of indiscriminate firing by terrorists.

Even attacks on civilians grew during the ramadan ceasefire time. Several incidents of kidnappings and torture of civilians by terrorist were reported. Each time the terrorists did that, they would post video on the social networking sites in order to instill fear among the local populace. The terror and the separatist groups openly wooed the youth to join their ranks.

It is being reported that during the Ramadan time 23 youth joined the terror groups.

Two days before Eid, terrorists abducted and killed an unarmed Indian Army soldier Aurangzeb who was on way his way home to celebrate Eid with his family. Aurangzeb was a brave heart who was involved in several counter terror operations including the one wherein Hizbul Mujahideen commander Sameer tiger was killed. And a day for Eid terrorists struck again. This time they attacked the Press freedom by gunning down a very senior journalist and Editor Shujaat Bukhari. Bukhari was leaving his office for evening Ramzan prayers. He was killed by bike borne three gunmen in the very heart of Srinagar in the secure press colony area.

Ramzan is said to be a period of self restraint and love but in valley terrorists and the separatists turned this period into one of bloodshed and grief. Even on the day of Eid, June 16th, there was no let up in terror violence. There was massive stone pelting against security forces at several places in Kashmir. IS and Pakistani flags were prominently displayed by stone pelters at some places.

Kashmir has once again fallen into the trap set by divisive forces in Pakistan fully executed by some vested elements in the valley. Attempts at starting any peace process have again received a major blow.

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