NEW DELHI – India’s home affairs ministry announced on Wednesday the suspension of security operations in the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir during the month of Ramadan, while reserving the right to respond to any insurgent attacks.
Ramadan, also known as Ramzan, will begin on Thursday or Friday, depending on the sighting of the Moon.
“The Centre asks Security Forces not to launch operations in Jammu & Kashmir during the holy month of Ramzan. Decision taken to help the peace loving Muslims observe Ramzan in a peaceful environment,” the ministry said on its official Twitter account.
According to the tweet, Home Minister Rajnath Singh has already communicated the decision to the state’s head of government, Mehbooba Mufti.
The measure will “help the Muslim brothers and sisters to observe Ramzan peacefully and without difficulties,” the ministry said in another tweet.
The home affairs ministry also said that the security forces “reserve the right to retaliate if attacked or if essential to protect the lives of innocent people.”
Last week, Mufti had asked the security forces for a unilateral ceasefire during Ramadan following several operations, which left tens of insurgents and civilians dead and wounded in that region in recent weeks.
A wave of unrest has hit Indian Kashmir after the region had returned to relative normalcy in recent months after a prolonged period of protests following the death of a young insurgent in July 2016.
Those demonstrations left more than 100 people dead and over 10,000 injured – more than 1,000 of them with eye injuries caused by pellets fired by the police and the army.
Both India and Pakistan have claimed complete sovereignty over the Kashmir region since the partition of the subcontinent and its subsequent independence from the British Empire in 1947.