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New Delhi cold to Eid ceasefire in Kashmirr

Srinagar, October 10, 2007:

New Delhi is unlikely to suspend operations against militant groups in Indian administered Kashmir despite the announcement of a three-day unilateral ceasefire by United Jihad Council (UJC), an alliance of 13 militant groups active in Kashmir.

A leading Indian newspaper quoted unnamed Indian home ministry officials as saying that New Delhi was unlikely to declare a reciprocal ceasefire unless the militant groups outside the UJC umbrella also demonstrate willingness to halt strikes against Indian troops.

A spokesperson for the Muzaffarabad-based United Jihad Council, chaired by Hizb ul-Mujahideen chief Syed Sallahudin, on Monday announced a 3-day ceasefire in Jammu Kashmir from October 12 to 14, to mark the Muslim festival of Eid-ul-Fitr.

“We’re considering the options,” a ministry official was quoted by the newspaper, “but do not wish to repeat past mistakes.”

Meanwhile an Indian army spokesperson in Srinagar, said that the army would follow the directions of the Indian Government on ceasefire.

"If the Government of India asks us to halt operations against militants, we will and in case they want continuation of operations, we will adhere to its decision" the spokesman said.

Cutting across ideologies, political leaders in Kashmir have endorsed the Hizb ceasefire and called for for New Delhi to reciprocate.

Ruling ally People’s Democratic Party President Mehbooba Mufti said the ceasefire would allow the people of Jammu Kashmir to breathe freely.

Communist Party of India (Marxist) Kashmir leader M Y Tarigami asked “all parties to work towards ending violence permanently”.

The Chairman of the moderate faction of the separatist alliance All Parties Hurriyat Conference, called on New Delhi to make an “appropriate response so that the ground is prepared for a permanent two-way ceasefire in Jammu Kashmir.”



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