Interlocutor Sharma to visit Kashmir for ceasefire review: Report

Interlocutor Sharma to visit Kashmir for ceasefire review: Report

Delhi’s Interlocutor, Dineshwar Sharma, will visit the Kashmir Valley from Thursday for the first time since the Centre announced the suspension of operations, The Hindu reported.

Sharma’s visit is significant as it was on the basis of a report compiled by him with the Intelligence Bureau and the J&K police that the suspension of operations was announced ahead of the month of Ramzan on May 16.

A senior government official said it was too early to make an assessment on the suspension, but various reports from the Valley suggested that it “was holding”.

Quoting a report from the J&K police, a senior government official said only five incidents of stone throwing were reported in the State from May 17 to 21, the first five days of suspension.

“To put it in perspective, 92 incidents of stone throwing were witnessed in the first five days of April this year when operations against militants by security forces were in full swing,” said the official. The official said no incidents were reported on May 19 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the State.

The Internet was suspended and there was curfew-like restrictions in several areas of the Valley during the visit.

Sharma is expected to visit parts of north Kashmir in his fifth visit since his appointment last year.

An official said that in the past Sharma’s visits were overshadowed by operations of government forces and he had little to offer to Kashmiris whenever he met them.

“His visit will be important this time, as people have been given a reprieve from the cordon-and-search operations and can move around freely in the month of Ramzan,” said the official.

Speaking at an event in Delhi on the ceasefire violations along the International Border in Jammu, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said Pakistan was not “mending its ways”.

Delivering the keynote speech at the Border Security Force’s 16th investiture ceremony, Singh, without naming Pakistan, said it was an “irony” that despite India wanting peace with its neighbours, a particular country was not “mending its ways”.

He said while the government had directed the BSF and other forces on the border such as the Army never to fire the first bullet, “no one will ask them how they chose to retaliate”.

“If you [the BSF) are fired upon, then you have to decide what is the best course of reaction or action. You have done this with remarkable responsibility in the past,” the Minister said.

Seven persons including two BSF jawans and an infant were killed and 18 others injured in the latest ceasefire violation on Sunday night by Pakistan in the Jammu region.

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