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Ramadan Ceasefire could be the first step, Centre open to more ‘soft ideas’


Srinagar:The ceasefire announcement made by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday could be just one of the slew of measures that the Centre is mulling to bring peace in Kashmir. Top sources in New Delhi have told the Kashmir Monitor that if the ‘Ramadan ceasefire’ was successful the Centre was open to extending the same for the entire duration of Amarnath Yatra as well.
Sources say that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP Chief Amit Shah, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and the national security advisor Ajit Doval had all discussed the ceasefire offer mooted by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and they had all unanimously agreed that perhaps something ‘innovative’ could be given a chance in Kashmir.
“This is a clear shift from our muscular approach. Perhaps somewhere down the line a though has crept in that going hard on militants and people had not yielded the desired results. We have certainly taken a step back back and have stood down. Now the young men with guns must also reciprocate if this temporary ceasefire has to be turned into a lasting peace process”, said a senior security official from New Delhi.
The Prime Minister Narendra Modi is himself coming to Srinagar tomorrow and many believe that just before his arrival a new sense of hope has been generated in the Kashmir Valley. It is quite possible that while in Kashmir the PM may reiterate the ceasefire call with hope that many young men who had picked up the arms recently would return to their families.
Sources say that Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh too was of the opinion that violence levels needed to be deescalated in the valley and that the ceasefire could be the first step. In an earlier Kashmir-centric initiative, Modi had last year appointed a former IB Cheif Dineshwar Sharma as the Centre’s representative to begin the dialogue process in Kashmir. Sources say that Sharma too had pushed hard with the Centre for a ‘new and soft’ approach in Kashmir to win over the general public.
The ceasefire is expected to give boost to Mehbooba’s PDP that has been marginalised in Kashmir. However, her coalition partner BJP is somewhat demoralised in Jammu as its local leaders, including deputy chief minister Kavinder Gupta, minister of state in PMO Jitendra Singh and few others had opposed Mehbooba’s call for ceasefire by saying it was not in the national interest.