Jammu and Kashmir ceasefire: Bitten in past, security officials wary of ‘peaceful’ interlude

Senior officials in security agencies said they were keeping their fingers crossed as the ceasefire which was announced in 2000 proved to be quite violent for the forces. 

Published: 18th May 2018 06:15 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th May 2018 06:15 AM   |  A+A-

Indian army soldiers patrol near the Line of Control in Poonch district after a ceasefire violation by Pakistan. (File| PTI)

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Security forces seemed sceptical about the government’s decision of Ramzan ceasefire in Kashmir, as a similar exercise nearly two decades ago saw the killings of 129 people, including 43 security personnel.  On Wednesday, the Centre announced that security forces would not launch any operation in the northern state during the holy month of Ramzan but they reserved the right to retaliate, if attacked. Senior officials in security agencies said they were keeping their fingers crossed as the ceasefire which was announced in 2000 proved to be quite violent for the forces. 

The ceasefire, which was announced by the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and extended twice — January 24, 2001 and on February 22 of the same year — also saw an attack on former Jammu and Kashmir CM and National Conference patron Farooq Abdullah. During the ceasefire period from November 19, 2000 to May 23, 2001, terrorists carried out three ‘fidayeen’ (suicide) attacks on Army cantonment, police control room and Srinagar airport, and two massacres. 

During the unilateral ceasefire, popularly known as NICO (Non Initiation of Combat Operations), 43 security personnel were killed. Six Sikhs at Srinagar’s Mehjoor Nagar and 15 people in Rajouri were among the over 40 civilians killed in the same period, as per official records. A senior CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) officer said the central police force would monitor the situation closely as terror groups used the ceasefire window as an opportunity to regroup and carry out more attacks on security establishments. 

It was during this period that the first Kashmiri ‘fidayeen’ suicide bomber Afaq Ahmed Shah blew himself along with an explosive-laden car outside Badami Bagh Cantonment area on December 25, killing four security personnel, the officer recalled.  

Bloody history

  • During the previous ceasefire that came into effect in Nov 2000, 129 people, including 43 security personnel, killed

  • The previous ceasefire was extended twice —Jan 24, 2001 and on Feb 22

  • From Nov 19, 2000 to May 23, 2001, 42 civilians were killed and 44 terrorists eliminated

  • Casualties suffered by security personnel include  (24) J&K Police, (6) Army and (13) other security forces

  • At that time, terrorists carried out three ‘fidayeen’ (suicide) attacks on Army cantonment, police control room and Srinagar airport

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