‘Ramzan Ceasefire’ May Go On Despite Hajin Attack, Rajnath Singh to Get Extension Request During Valley Visit
New Delhi: A gun fight between militants who attacked the Army’s Hajin camp in north Kashmir and security forces on Wednesday night threatened to undo the 20-day-old suspension of operations, better known as ‘Ramzan Ceasefire’, announced by the Home Ministry last month.
The attack was carried out at 8:30 pm on 13 Rashtriya Rifles camp in Hajin. The Army described the incident as a “standoff attack by militants”. The militants of Lashkar-e-Toiba, which claimed responsibility for the attack, reportedly used grenades and fired from their automatic weapons at the camp. Police sources claimed there was no loss of life, adding that search operations were continuing in the area.
This is the second such attack since May 17 when the suspension of operations or ‘Ramzan Ceasefire’ was announced. The first attack happened on May 28 when militants targeted an Army camp at Kakapora in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
Security forces have so far claimed the “ceasefire” to be a big success. That’s because of the remarkably low number of casualties in the hinterland during this period —one civilian and a security force personnel have been killed in the last 20 days. Around 10 militants trying to infiltrate into the Valley were killed in various encounters near the Line of Control (LoC).
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who will visit the Valley on Thursday, is likely to be asked by state government and security officials to extend the suspension of operations well after Eid.
Sources in state police department told News18 that while they are receiving intelligence inputs of a possible fidayeen attack on a daily basis, a greater vigilance by the forces has so far deterred the terror groups from carrying out such attacks.
Senior officials of the security agencies deployed in Kashmir are already hailing the ‘Ramzan Ceasefire’ as a big success when compared to the ceasefire announced last time —in 2000 when then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had announced a Non Initiation of Combat Operations (NICO) over a five-month period during which 800 people had died.
Sources say that not just the casualties, but also the number of incidents, when compared to the same period last year, have also dropped drastically. From around 900 incidents that were reported in the first six months in 2017, sources say so far only 410 such incidents have been reported. The drop in number of incidents has happened across various categories – weapon snatching, grenade lobbing, bank loots, IED blasts, and stone pelting.
Singh is scheduled to preside over a high-level security meeting during his visit to Srinagar on Thursday. On getting favourable response from the agencies, which is almost certain now, the Home Minister is likely to announce an extension in ‘Ramzan Ceasefire’ on his return to the capital.