Former Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday requested the Centre to announce a ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir during the month of Ramzan “so that people can have at least a month of relief”.
"The month of Ramzan is starting after a couple of days and so, I appeal the Government of India that ours is a Muslim-majority state and people here are facing difficulties.
"It is a month of prayer and so I request them (Centre) to announce a ceasefire like the last year so that crackdowns, search operations and encounters are stopped and people get some relief,” the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister told reporters.
She also asked the militants to stop attacks on security forces.
“I also want to tell militants that they should understand that this blessed month is a month of prayer and repentance and so they should not carry out any attacks in this month,” she said.
Ramzan is likely to commence from Monday or Tuesday.
The Union government had in May last year directed security forces not to launch operations in Jammu and Kashmir during Ramzan to help Muslims observe the holy month in a "peaceful environment". Mehbooba was at that time heading a PDP-BJP coalition government in the state and had requested the Centre to announce the ceasefire.
However, the ceasefire was ended by the Centre exactly after a month as militant attacks continued during the period. Soon after the BJP withdrew support to the PDP.
Mehbooba said Ramzam ceasefire would be an opportunity for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to prove that he was following former prime minister A B Vajpayee's policy of "insaniyat', jhamooriyat' and Kashmiriyat".
“Modi keeps on saying that he wants to follow Vajpayee's policy of insaniyat, jhamooriyat and Kashmiriyat and I feel that announcing a Ramadhaan ceasefire will be the biggest proof of democracy and humanity,” she said.
The former chief minister said while elections were going on in the country, the Centre has turned Jammu and Kashmir "into a battlefield" and slammed decisions like ban on Jamaat-e-Islami and JKLF, suspension of cross-LoC trade and the closure of highway for civilian traffic for two days a week.
The PDP president said since the elections started, youths have been arrested "in the name of stone-pelting" especially from south Kashmir where from she is contesting the Lok Sabha polls.
Asked if anti-militancy operations like the Friday's in Shopian would have any impact on the polling in the two districts of Shopian and Pulwama in the last leg of the three-phased polls in the Anantnag parliamentary constituency, Mehbooba said “naturally, it will have an impact.”
The month-long ceasefire last year saw spike in number of terrorist attacks including targeted killing of the editor-in-chief of Rising Kashmir, Shujaat Bukhari, who had supported the cessation of operations. In another incident, a solider named Aurangzeb was kidnapped and killed by the terrorists on the eve of Eid in J&K. On Eid, there was stonepelting reported in Anantnag while in Srinagar, stone-pelters also showed ISIS flags.