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India rules out Eid ceasefire

October 11, 2007

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NEW DELHI, Oct 10: Indian Defence Minister A.K. Antony is said to have ruled out an Eid ceasefire in the army operations against resistance groups in Jammu and Kashmir but his comments on Wednesday remained open to interpretation.

“We are all for peace. There is peace in Jammu and Kashmir. The violence level has come down sharply. So where is the question of ceasefire,” Mr Antony was quoted by PTI as telling reporters.

He was responding to questions whether New Delhi would order reciprocate a three-day unilateral truce by the United Jehad Council (UJC), an umbrella organisation of armed groups based in Azad Kashmir.

On Tuesday, the Indian Army said operations against militants in Jammu and Kashmir could be stopped only by New Delhi.

“Operations against militants will be halted only after we get a communication from the Govern- ment of India,” Defence spokesman Anil Mathur told The Indian Express.

“So far, operations against the militants are going on at every place.” He said once the federal government decides on the ceasefire, troops will stop their operations within hours. “Several militant outfits are still continuing their activities. Even Lashkar-i-Taiba is not with the council,” he added.

On Monday, Council spokesman Syed Sadaqat Hussain had said in a telephonic statement that the ceasefire would be effective from Oct 12 to 14.

Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said the Indian government should respond positively to the ceasefire.