Pakistan not curtailing violence in Ramzan
by Jaibans Singh on 08 May 2020 6 Comments

Ramadan is a sacred time when Muslims across the world observe a month of fasting, an act considered one of the five pillars of Islam. This year Ramadan commenced on April 23 and will conclude on May 23. In this month, Muslims are decreed by Allah to emphasise on acts of “Deen” (religion) rather than worldly matters. Ramadan is not only about fasting; it is also about being humble, modest and free of animosities; it is about discipline, self control, self reflection and reformation, a time when the believer ponders over spirituality and piety and brings about a change in his own self for the better. Eid-ul-Fitr, a festival of joy, is a befitting celebration that marks the end of the holy month.


It is very difficult to come to terms with the cult of violence and hatred that has, since advent of terrorism in the Kashmir Valley, become a characteristic of the month of Ramadan. This year too, the terrorist cadre has remained active despite its drastically reduced numbers. Terror masters have increased efforts towards recruitment and are giving huge monetary incentives to Kashmir youth to join the self destructive path of terrorism. This is because infiltration of foreign mercenaries from Pakistan has been curtailed drastically by the vigilant Indian Army and internal recruitment is the only option left.


In the hinterland of Kashmir, terrorists, at the behest of their foreign masters, are hitting out during the holy period of Ramadan. The security forces are responding incisively. Relentless counter terrorist operations are being carried out in a professional manner. More than 30 terrorists have been killed in the month of April alone, of which more than 15 were eliminated in the last few days. This year, terrorists have suffered back breaking losses of nearly 60 fatal casualties.


On April 22, a day before Ramadan commenced, four terrorists were killed in Shopian. On April 23, terrorist Shakir Alie, affiliated to Hizbul Mujahedeen, was apprehended in Kulgam; three days later, on April 27, four terrorists were killed in Kulgam. On April 26, in two separate and successful operations, security forces killed two terrorists in Pulwama and two in Anantnag. On April 29, three more terrorists were eliminated in a joint operation in Shopian; the operation went on for two days.


Despite being an Islamic country and despite being in a critical situation due to the spread of coronavirus across the country, Pakistan has not stopped its consistent ceasefire violations along the line of control during Ramadan. It has, in fact, increased the pressure drastically. Border villagers of Nowshera like Pukharni, where the Muslim community resides, have been observing Ramadan under shelling by Pakistan. A ground report by a local newspaper Daily Excelsior says, “one of the villagers Mohammad Altaf got injured due to bullet from Pakistan side, when he was sitting inside his house. Although he was treated, the bullet could not be taken out from his body”. Similarly, Pakistan has also been shelling in Bhawani, Shermakri areas. The same conditions prevail all along the LOC including the Kashmir sector.


On two occasions, the Union Government took a decision to “suspend operations” during Ramadan. The first initiative was taken by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government in 2000. It was termed Non Initiation of Combat Operations (NICO). NICO was fuelled by an intense desire that Prime Minister Vajpayee nurtured to put an end to violence in Jammu and Kashmir. The noble policy failed to produce the desired results despite being in place for five long months. In the end, the number of terrorists operating in the state increased drastically, resulting in intense counter-terrorist operations in 2001 and 2002 to neutralise them. Pakistan-based terrorist organisations like Jaish-e-Mohammad got an opportunity to invigorate their cadre and this led to the attack on the Indian Parliament, which took the two countries to the brink of war.


The second attempt was made by the NDA-led Union Government in 2018. A request for “ceasefire” was made by the then chief minister and agreed to by the Union Government.  The noble initiative hit a roadblock from the word go. “Ceasefire is not an option. We deem it as sin to the sacrifices rendered in the freedom struggle. We are the heirs of martyrs and opting for such choice is treachery to their blood”, said Abdullah Ghazanwi, spokesperson of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT). Even as the ceasefire announcement was being made, terrorists opened fire on an Army patrol in Shopian district of South Kashmir.


Not to be left behind, the Hurriyat leadership came up with its own rhetoric. Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said that a month of no action is nothing more than a “farce”, while the chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, Yasin Malik, described the decision as a “mazaak” (joke).


The sad truth is that the people of the Union Territory and the security forces have to contend with an ignoble enemy who will not relent from his malicious objectives even on the most holy occasions. Hence, Ramadan and the fight against coronavirus will perforce have to go hand in hand with the fight against Pakistan-sponsored terrorism and violence. The security forces, on their part, are very alert and vigilant to ward off terrorist attacks. That is why the terrorists are not getting the type of success they are looking despite numerous attempts.


(Jaibans Singh is a geo-strategic analyst and columnist)

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