End Of Ramzan Ceasefire Upsets PDP, Amit Shah Summons Leaders: Sources

The rift between the ruling PDP and ally BJP in Jammu and Kashmir is showing once again after the centre announced that the Ramzan ceasefire would not be extended and anti-terror operations would resume in the state. BJP chief Amit Shah has called its ministers from the state to New Delhi to discuss the issue, sources said.

While the PDP or the People’s Democratic Party maintains that the centre needs to reach out to the separatists, the government argues that the separatists lost an opportunity as they did not take a cue from civil society, sources said.

The cente’s Special Representative Dineshwar Sharma – who is free to reach out to all stakeholders – is in the Valley.

The government’s special peace initiative in the Kashmir Valley – suspension of cordon and search operations – was taken with the aim of providing respite to the people during the holy month of Ramzan. But data showed terror activities had more than doubled during that period.

Two days before Eid, senior journalist Shujaat Bukhari was shot dead by terrorists near his office in Srinagar. With it, any faint hope of an extension of the ceasefire ended.

In a series of tweets on Sunday, Home Minister Rajnath Singh announced that security forces have been directed to resume operations.

“It was expected that everyone will cooperate in ensuring the success of this initiative. While the Security Forces have displayed exemplary restraint during this period, the terrorists have continued with their attacks, on civilians and SFs, resulting in deaths and injuries,” Mr Singh tweeted.

The ceasefire initiative was the brainchild of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, and the state BJP unit had fought it tooth and nail. It had even asked the Centre to spike her recommendation, arguing that “we should not do anything to demoralise the security forces”. Union minister Jitendra Singh had suggested that leaders advocating the ceasefire were “playing politics”.

The alliance between the BJP and the PDP, parties with widely divergent views, has been shaky from the start. The rift showed from time to time – over PDP’s promises of talks with separatists, the proposal to scrap AFSPA (the Armed Forces’ Special Powers Act which grants sweeping powers to the army in insurgency-hit areas), and even the rollout of the government’s flagship Goods and Services Tax (GST).

In March, concerns over the future of the alliance surfaced after the PDP sacked its minister Haseeb Drabu. Since the death of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, the father of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, Mr Drabu had been a key interlocutor between the two parties.

On that occasion too, the top BJP leadership had summoned its state leaders to discuss possible repercussions on the alliance.