J&K political parties disappointed as centre ends ceasefire

Srinagar, Jun 18: Political parties in Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday described as “disappointing” the Centre’s announcement of not extending the ceasefire in the state and blamed the Centre and the state government for not making it effective.

“It is disappointing but not entirely (an) unexpected development,” the state’s main opposition National Conference (NC)’s spokesperson Junaid Mattu told PTI.

Junaid Mattu said the Central government should have done some necessary back channel work for the ceasefire to be effective.

“The decision to announce the ceasefirewas welcomed by us and we had expected that the decision would have been taken after due application of mind and with the necessary back channel work. That turned out not to be the case and the recent developments including the tragic assassination of Shujaat Bukhari made this decision inevitable,” he said.

The NC spokesperson said the “failure” of the Centre’s unilateral ceasefire was the “collective failure” of the state and the central government and a loss for all those who believe in peaceful resolution to “Kashmir’s political issue”.

The ruling PDP said while the party was also disappointed, there was very little it could do as peace is a two-way traffic.

“Peace is a two-way traffic, it is not one way. We tried everything from our side. Is there any CBM (confidence building measure) which we or Mehbooba did not work on? Stone-pelters were given amnesty, their cases, in thousands, were revoked, even those who were booked in 2010 by the then NC government,” PDP general secretary Peerzada Mansoor told PTI.

“There was a dialogue process. Even Union Home Minister mentioned talks with Hurriyat by taking their name. What else could we have done?” he said. 

“You can lead a horse to the water, but you cannot make it drink. Ceasefire happened after many years. Last time it happened, the government was opposed to that. We called for an all-party meet this time where there was a consensus. Then Mehbooba initiated it, we are grateful that the Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) honoured it. Then (Union) Home Minister announced it,” he continued.

“You saw how death and destruction stopped in the Ramadan except for one boy who came under a forces vehicle. People had a sigh of relief. You travel to Pulwama or Shopian and see. But, see the situation in the last few days. What happened to Bukhari. How he was mercilessly killed. What can we do?” he said.

Mr Mansoor said the situation in the valley had left the ruling party with no choice.

Criticising the separatists for setting pre-conditions for talks, the PDP leader said engagement is in the interest of Kashmir and its people.

“… They (separatists) could also have constituted a team. If the Centre has constituted a team (special representative Dineshwar Sharma), let them (separatists) also form a team, but there should be engagement so that people are saved from death and destruction. What can we do, where will we go. Kashmir is burning because of these things,” he said.

Mr Mansoor said while the party was disappointed by the Centre’s decision, the situation was such that ceasefire could not have been extended.

However, he said the party has not lost hope.

“We have not lost all hope. We are hopeful that a better sense will prevail. Let them tell us what Mehbooba should do, we are ready to do that,” he said.

Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) president G A Mir said the BJP-led government at the centre did not have any clear policy or roadmap on Kashmir.

He said the while all the mainstream political parties in Jammu and Kashmir pitched for a ceasefire in Kashmir in the holy month of Ramadan, the Centre’s decision to revoke it has been taken unilaterally.

“They have never tried to take on-board mainstream parties for a national consensus. So, even today’s decision is a unilateral one. They have not kept in mind that J-K is a sensitive issue where the situation is sensitive and for which a consensus needed to be built at the country or the Parliamentary level where some other opinion could have come up or a direction could have been taken where other people would have contributed. Therefore, this decision has been taken unilaterally,” Mr Mir told PTI.

He said there was some effect of the ceasefire on the ground in the valley which his party also appreciated.

“Especially, in the month of Ramadan, people got respite from sudden crackdowns and search operations which (otherwise) disturbed the situation. There was definitely a difference (in the situation). Now, have they assessed that angle or not, we do not know. Whether they asked the state government for their opinion or not as they were also monitoring it and did they take their coalition partner (PDP) on board or not, nobody knows,” he said.

The JKPCC president asked chief minister Mehbooba Mufti to come clean on the decision.

Mr Mir said the effect of the Centre’s direction to the security forces to resume operations against the militants, “will show in a few days’ time as to which level the situation will head to”.

“How the situation plays now, the responsibility of that will lie on the Central government as well as Mehbooba,” the Congress leader said. (PTI)

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