The Government of India(GoI) declared armistice for the month of Ramadan in the restive and jittery state of Jammu and Kashmir. The decision came in the backdrop and context of regional ruling party’s frequent appeals for enforcing it. The All Party Meeting convened by Chief Minister appealed New Delhi to consider a unilateral ceasefire. It took the killing of 460 militants and 235 civilians in 28 months (according to media reports) for Delhi to curtail its anti-militancy operation for a month. Whether the decision came in consideration of Ramadan or upcoming Amarnath Yatra is not a subject to debate. The said decision will truly bring relief to people of Kashmir in general and people of south Kashmir in particular, if not for long but leastways for the month of Ramadan.
Ramadan is a month of worship. People need to move out of their houses at dawn and during night to offer Fajr and Taraweeh prayers in Masjids. The frequent CASO’s and daily frisking at the hands of government forces have created a sense and grip of fear among the local populace. This interim measure will bring semblance of peace and normalcy and feeling of comfort among people. They would be able to freely vent out. However, the larger question remains, what after Ramadan?
The ceasefire or armistice doesn’t settle the larger conflict. However, it can become a step forward towards the larger direction, that is, resolution of the Kashmir conflict. Ceasefire is a first step towards solving armed and violent conflicts through peaceful means. It is a way towards truce and negotiation. But, unless, there is a strong political commitment, such declarations are fragile and likely to break in no time. Moreover, it is a unilateral ceasefire declared on part of one party alone. Ceasefire involves all rival parties. They can only be included, if there is seriousness to draw any result from it.
The militants have vividly rejected the offer, calling it compromise. They have refused to take off the offer. Furthermore, the resistance leadership of Kashmir has called the truce as a “cosmetic measure”. A pragmatic person knows very well that violence only aggravates conflict. All parties must , therefore, introspect. However, ambiguity has to be cleared first. Sincerity and seriousness needs to be shown inter-se. The sincerity can be shown by announcing dialogue process thereby paving way for resolution of conflict. It should not look “management” or time-buying to other parties.
If the next step is taken by announcing talks and initiating a meaningful dialogue process, ceasefire will work ; otherwise, these moves are bound to fail as can be gleaned from past experiences. To sustain a ceasefire, there must be sincerity and serious-mindedness. Earlier, ceasefires have met bad fate, because of lack of earnestness. Furthermore, all parties must understand, that ceasefire is not a compromise but an adjustment. Ceasefire will address mistrust, if it is sincerely taken as way forward for permanent conflict resolution of the long pending Kashmir dispute
The author is a student of Law at the Department of Legal Studies, Central University of Kashmir. He blogs at: AbrarReyaz.wordpress.com and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org