Three-time former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Farooq Abdullah has welcomed the decision of the Centre to announce a Ramzan ceasefire in the Kashmir Valley. Thanking Prime Minister Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Mufti said the move marked the beginning of listening to the accounts of agony of the state's people by the country's leadership and policymakers.
However, Indian security forces, of which there are an estimated 500,000 in Kashmir, "reserve the right to retaliate if attacked", the ministry added. The decision has been taken to help local Muslims observe Ramzan fast in a peaceful environment, a home ministry spokesperson said. This can help the Muslim brothers and sisters to observe Ramzan peacefully. She tweeted, "I wholeheartedly welcome the Ramadan ceasefire & would like to thank @narendramodi ji & @rajnathsingh ji for their personal intervention". My gratitude also to the leaders and parties who participated in the All Party Meeting & helped build consensus towards this announcement.
In the all-party Meeting that was held last week, Mehbooba Mufti had proposed that the Centre should consider a unilateral ceasefire in the state starting from Ramzan in mid-May until the completion of the Amarnath yatra in August.
Omar Abdullah, former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir and the leader of Jammu & Kashmir National Conference (JKNC) has also tweeted on the issue and has said that it is a test for the militants and that they will "stand exposed" if they do not respond positively to the ceasefire.
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Once the unilateral ceasefire comes into force, the security forces will halt pro-active stance against terrorists including seek and destroy (SADO) and cordon and search operations (CASO).
Earlier in the day, security forces launched a search operation in forest area of Tral in Pulwama district following a brief exchange of firing with militants, a police official said. It's what they called it during the Vajpayee-Advani era as well but it's still a unilateral cease fire.
"Army has been given the right to retaliate to any attack", a source said.
During his Independence Day address previous year, Modi had said bullets or abuses will not resolve the Kashmir issue and that it can be addressed by embracing every Kashmiri.