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Ramadhan begins without a ceasefire in Kashmir

Sep 25, 2006:

A roadside vendor sells dates in srinagar
The Islamic holy month of Ramadhan began in Indian administered Kashmir Monday, without a ceasefire despite hints at a Ramadhan ceasefire by the state government as well as militants.

While the sources indicate that a ceasefire was still on cards, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Sunday that no such plan was under consideration right now.

Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad was the first to call for a Ramadhan ceasefire on Sep 12. The call was widely appreciated across the political spectrum in Kashmir and evoked a response from Hizbul Mujahideen, the largest indigenous militant group in Kashmir.

A Hizb spokesman said last week that Hizb was prepared for a conditional ceasefire.

“If the Government agrees to scale down troop presence, stop rights violations and release all political prisoners, we will also consider a ceasefire during Ramzan,” Hizbul chief spokesman Ehsan Elahi was quoted by newspapers in Islamabad.

Despite these hopes the holy month of fasting began without a ceasefire on ground. A ceasefire on the Line of control in Kashmir is in place since November 2003.

The failure for a ceasefire to take off has disappointed many Kashmiris.

“We were looking ahead for a peaceful month of fasting. It is bad to see that a ceasefire has not been announced,” said Mohammad Hussain, a teacher in a local school.

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