The Indian government has not yet taken a formal and the final decision on extending or ending the suspension of their decision to halt military operations in Jammu & Kashmir following the end of the Ramzan month. Eid is to be celebrates this weekend, said government officials.

Jammu & Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti had made repeated requests to the central government to halt the firing for few days. Heeding to her requests, the government declared on May 16 that security forces will halt operations against militants for the Islamic holy month Ramzan. This the first such initiative in the troubled state in more than 17 years.

A government official said “Like the earlier decision to announce halt on operations in Jammu and Kashmir during Ramzan, any decision to extend it or end it, will be taken at the political level. So far no decision has been taken.”

However, the killing of Shujaat Bukhari, a senior journalist, on Thursday evening in Srinagar by suspected militants has changed equations.

Bukhari had been constantly writing in his paper ‘Rising Kashmir,’ in support of the halting of security force operations. His murder is the one of the most high profile killings in the valley in last many years. After this incident, the decision of halting of operations by Indian government has come under scrutiny and the government is taking some time to decide whether they should extend the ceasefire or not.

A Jammu and Kashmir cadre Indian Police Service (IPS) officer who is now posted on central deputation told the media: “he (Bukhari) was considered close to the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of chief minister Mehbooba Mufti in the state.”

Bukhari’s brother Syed Basharat Ahmed Bukhari, was a minister for horticulture, law and parliamentary affairs in the present PDP-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the state, the officer who did not want to be named told the media.

The Amarnath Yatra is about to begin from June 28. The Union home minister Rajnath Singh had called an hour long meeting in New Delhi on the issue. The meeting was about reviewing the security arrangements for the peaceful conduct of the pilgrimage. In the meeting, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, Union home secretary Rajiv Gauba, Jammu and Kashmir police chief SP Vaid, army chief Bipin Rawat, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) chief RR Bhatnagar, Intelligence Bureau (IB) chief Rajiv Jain, Border Security Force (BSF) chief KK Sharma, and other home ministry officials who are dealing with Kashmir were present.

An official present at the meeting said: “the issue of possible extension of the Ramzan halt on operations too was discussed.” He added “the Jammu & Kashmir police chief and other key officials were asked about their opinion on the matter as they will have to deal with the fallout on the ground of any decision that the government will take. They provided their inputs and assessment in this regard. ”

The impression of the halt to counter-insurgency operations was undoubtedly positive in the terms of law and order. But at the same time the militant activity still continues, said the officer.

He officer added “We have given our view, the government has to take a call by weighing costs and benefits of the decision.”

(Adapted from TheHindustanTimes.com)