Ramadan Ceasefire: What Next?

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Fida Hussain Sodagar

The Union government announced a conditional ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir during the holy month of Ramadhan. The proposal for ceasefire was conveyed by the State Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to the Central Government after all mainstream parties of Jammu and Kashmir, including the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) pushed for a unilateral ceasefire for the month of Ramadan. In the first instance, New Delhi refused to give the green signal to the ceasefire proposal. Later , the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) asked the security forces to halt the operations against the militants during the holy month of Ramadan.
The Home ministry boasted that the decision had been taken to help the peace-loving Muslims observe Ramadan in a peaceful environment. However, New Delhi reserved the right for security forces to retaliate if attacked. This condition gave the forces every right to retaliate even if not attacked.
The word ceasefire is not new in the troubled history of Kashmir. Ceasefires were announced previously also with no end to vicious cycle of violence. The past ruptured ceasefire promises by the Government of India makes this one doubtful. In the year 2000, then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajaypee had declared a unilateral ceasefire in Kashmir for the holy month of Ramadan. The ceasefire was extended for five more months that finally fractured in 2001 after failed talks between Union Home Ministry and the Hizb ul Mujahideen.
A one month halt in the bloodshed may prove successful in providing temporary relief to the people of Kashmir. But a million dollar question arises here: What next? Is it is a means to decorate the valley of bloodshed with the rhetoric of ceasefire for the month of holy Ramadan? Short term solutions to a conflict ridden Kashmir may result in a short term relief but the essence of the conflict will remain unsolved. Temporary measures to block the violence will only protrude violence more forcefully. The bloodshed will return to Kashmir after one month. The brutal scenes of bloodshed will shatter the people of Kashmir after a brief halt. Kashmir conflict needs a permanent solution. That solution will be projected by the honest commitment of the administration to initiative a serious dialogue. Cosmetic measures will only annihilate the hopes for a peaceful Kashmir. Serious measures to bring the peace in the conflict ridden valley need to be initiated. Still, the question remains: What Next?

—The Author is a P.G in Mass Communication and Journalism and writes on various issues. He can be reached at: f.hussain01234@gmail.com