Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti today asked the centre to strike a "ceasefire" with terror groups in Jammu and Kashmir during the Ramzan period, so that "people can get some relief".
The government had suspended military crackdowns in the state on a trial basis during the holy month last year, but eventually resumed them over concerns of terror groups not reciprocating the gesture.
"The month of Ramzan is starting after a couple of days... It is a month of prayer, and so I request them (the centre) to announce a ceasefire like last year so that crackdowns, search operations and encounters are stopped and people get some relief," she told reporters here.
Mehbooba Mufti also asked terror groups to stop attacking security forces during this time. "I want to tell militants that they should understand that this is a month of prayer and repentance. So they should not carry out any attacks in this month," she said. Ramzan is likely to commence on Monday or Tuesday, depending on lunar conditions.
Last May, the centre had directed security forces to refrain from conducting cordon-and-search operations in Jammu and Kashmir during the Ramzan period so that Muslims can observe the holy month in a "peaceful environment".
The initiative was undertaken at the insistence of Mehbooba Mufti, who was heading the PDP-BJP coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir at the time. However, the period of calm came to an end exactly a month later as terror attacks continued unabated. Soon afterwards, the BJP withdrew support to the PDP.
Mehbooba Mufti termed it as an opportunity for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to prove that he cares for the welfare of Kashmir. "Modi keeps saying that he wants to follow Vajpayee's policy of insaniyat, jhamooriyat and Kashmiriyat. I feel that announcing a Ramzan ceasefire will be the biggest proof of democracy and humanity," she said.
The PDP chief accused security forces of indiscriminately arresting youngsters across the state "in the name of stone-throwing" ever since the Lok Sabha elections began. She also criticised decisions such as banning separatist groups, suspending cross-border trade and closing highways to civilian traffic for two days every week.
(With inputs from ANI)
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