Army Agrees To Government Plan On Ceasefire During Ramzan With Some Reluctance

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New Delhi:  The Army has agreed to the government’s decision to suspend counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir during holy month of Ramzan with some reluctance because of misgivings that similar initiatives have flopped in the past, with terror outfits using the interregnums to regroup, re-arm and unleash further violence.

Initially opposed to any “unilateral” suspension of operations in the absence of any reciprocal signal from Pakistan-controlled terror outfits or “at least tacit understanding” with others like the Hurriyat, the Army came on board after two of its main operational concerns were addressed in what was “essentially a political decision”, said sources.

“One, Army will have the right to retaliate if any convoy, camp or patrol is attacked by militants. And two, Army will be allowed to conduct specific intelligence-based operations, like the one in which HizbulMujahideen terrorist Sameer Ahmed Bhatalias Sameer Tiger was killed at Drabgam village (Pulwama district) on April 30,” said a source.

Though the Army’s “area domination patrols” will continue as before, “pro-active” CASO (cordon-and-search) and SADO (seek-and-destroy) operations will be “curtailed” during Ramzan. “Some CASO/SADO operations, however, will be required to continue to sanitize, for instance, roads for vehicular movements,” added the source.

The Army believes the non-initiation of combat operations (NICO) undertaken in 2000-2001 by the then AtalBihari Vajpayee government “failed to achieve any concrete results” and instead led to a surge in violence levels. “The terror outfits also regrouped and planned future strikes like the ones on the J&K legislative assembly on October 1 and Parliament on December 13, 2001,” said another source.

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