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Experts maintain caution as Ramadan ceasefire nears expiry

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By Syed Nashir Ali Gillani

SrinagarAs Ramadan nears its end, the experts have a cautious opinion about the fate of the ceasefire going on in Kashmir Valley.

Agreeing to the demand made by the state government, New Delhi last month enforced a unilateral ceasefire in the valley for the holy month, which is ending later this week.

 

Former Director General of Police (DGP), Kuldeep Khoda, said the ceasefire has, to some extent, worked on the ground.

“If the government wants to carry on with the ceasefire without the escalation in violence, it is worth a try,” he said.

“There can be no simple answer to this question of extending the ceasefire. It is a dynamic situation, and every situation has positives as well as negatives. The situation in discussion has positives in the sense that there is some decrease in the violence.”

He said the ceasefire was good for the people, who wanted it and “deserved it too”.

“It has been our aim, but at the same time it gives flexibility to the militants, who can choose targets at random. If the ceasefire helps the situation to improve, it shall be given some more time.”

Khoda said the ceasefire should have been followed up with other measures.

“On other fronts, nothing has been happening: social media continues to boil the situation, alienation or unemployment are not being addressed. Integration of youth with the rest of India should take place in the real sense—mental integration. They shall feel that they are the part of the country,” he said.

Defense expert, Pravin Sahni claimed that ceasefire was a “sideshow”.

The main thing, he said, was talk about the political issue.

“The 2019 elections are coming closer. I think ideologically it will not be appropriate for RSS to talk on the political issues. Ceasefire has nothing to do with the main issue,” he said.

“Extension is good, but nothing will be achieved. Political approach is required.”

Ajay Sahini, also a defense expert, favoured qualified extension.

“If violence escalates, ceasefire shall be withdrawn without any delay,” he said.

 


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Upcoming snow spell: Avalanche warning issued for Kashmir, Ladakh districts

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Srinagar, Jan 19: Kashmir areas experienced fresh snowfall on Saturday, with the weather office forecasting more in store for the next three days.
“A western disturbance (WD) is presently active over the state under whose influence moderate to heavy snowfall is likely to occur in the valley till January 23 after which the intensity of the WD will start decreasing,” a Met Department official said here.
District administrations have set up helplines to help prevent any untoward incident due to the heavy snowfall.
Meanwhile Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Baseer Ahmad Khan Saturday issued fresh avalanche warning for nine avalanche prone districts of Kashmir division.
The warning has been issued for the avalanche-prone areas of district Anantnag, Kulgam, Budgam, Baramulla, Kupwara, Bandipora, Ganderbal, Kargil and Leh.
As per the hand out, the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir has directed the Deputy Commissioners of all these districts to advise the people living in avalanche prone areas not to venture out to avoid the loss of lives.
The Div Com also directed the concerned DC’s to take all the precautionary measures and to keep the SDRF, Police and Para-medical staff with ambulances in readiness to avert any untoward incident.
While the nightlong cloud cover increased minimum temperatures throughout the valley on Saturday, the maximum temperatures are expected to drop further, the weather official said.
Srinagar recorded minus 2.0 degrees Celsius, Pahalgam minus 4.4 and Gulmarg minus 7.0 as the minimum temperatures.
Leh town had minus 9.2 degrees Celsius and Kargil minus 18.9 as the night’s lowest temperature.
Jammu city recorded 8.3 degrees Celsius, Katra 9.1, Batote 3.9, Bannihal 2.3 and Bhaderwah 1.3 as the minimum temperatures.

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UN clearly did its job: Guterres on Kashmir human rights report

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United Nations: United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Friday hoped that India and Pakistan will engage in a “meaningful dialogue” to resolve their issues.
The UN chief also said he has been offering his “good offices in relation to the dialogue between the two countries that, until now, had no conditions of success.”
Guterres was speaking to reporters at the UN headquarters in New York.
“I hope that the importance of both India and Pakistan is such in international affairs, I hope that the two countries will be able to engage in a meaningful dialogue,” he said.
The UN chief was responding to a question on his repeated urging of dialogue between the two South Asian neighbours.
In relation to the human rights situation, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has produced recently a very detailed report. So, the UN has clearly done its job in that regard, Guterres said to a question by a Pakistan journalist on the situation in Kashmir.

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Day after grenade attack, forces conduct search op in Lal Chowk

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Srinagar: A joint search operation was launched by the forces and police in the commercial Hub Lal Chowk area of Srinagar on Saturday.
The search came a day after the grenade attack took place in the locality, which left a vehicle and windowpanes of some shops damaged.
Witnesses said that a large contingent of police and paramilitary troopers were deployed near the Clock Tower here while the frisking was also intensified.
They said that drones too were used during the operation.
However, a top police official said that it was a routine exercise ahead of upcoming Republic Day.

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