New Delhi, June 17: The month-long unilateral ceasefire imposed to create a peaceful environment in Jammu and Kashmir during the holy month of Ramzan came to an end on Saturday.
The suspension of offensive operations in the Valley is unlikely to be extended any further amid the spike in fatal attacks on security personnel and the assassination of senior journalist and ‘Rising Kashmir’ editor Shujaat Bukhari.
However, an official announcement on the same by Home Minister Rajnath Singh is likely to come on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Times of India cited a top government functionary saying that the ceasefire initiative was taken to respect the religious sentiments of the people during the Ramzan period, further indicating that the unilateral ceasefire initiative was likely to come to an end at midnight on Saturday.
The government’s peace initiative has been reciprocated neither by terrorists nor separatist elements like the Hurriyat, which has been evident from the spike in targeted violence during the month and Ramzan and even on Eid.
On Saturday, one person was killed in a grenade blast in Anantnag during clashes between protesters and security forces. As many as 22 people, including 11 policemen, were injured in stone-pelting incidents across the Valley.
There were reports of stone-pelters clashing with security forces soon after Eid prayers in downtown Srinagar, Baramulla, Sopore, Anantnag and Kupwara.
During the holy month of Ramzan, the Valley witnessed a spike in bloodshed including grenade attacks, the killing of Bukhari who had supported “Ramzan ceasefire” and the abduction and killing of Army jawan Aurangzeb, whose bullet-riddled body was found in Pulwama on Thursday.
Also, the counter-insurgency operations are likely to resume in view of the threat to the Amarnath Yatra beginning June 28, as some militant groups, including JK-ISIS as well as Gazwat-ul-Hind, a group owing allegiance to Al-Qaeda, have rejected the Ramzan ceasefire.
The security agencies highlighted that during the halt to operations in the holy month of Ramzan, militants have been able to regroup, move more freely and convince youngsters to join them.
In total, the valley has witnessed the killings of over 55 militants and the deaths of 27 locals this year.
The situation in Kashmir is considered to be turbulent as nearly 80 incidents of violence occurred there in the last four months. Civilians were often seen thronging to encounter sites to stage protests with the intention of giving the militants an opportunity to escape.
(With PTI inputs)