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India Declares a Rare Cease-Fire in Kashmir for Ramadan

May 16, 2018

It is unclear how much traction the announcement will have with militants in Kashmir. For Islamist militants around the world, being martyred in an operation during Ramadan is considered especially heroic. One Pakistan-based group that operates in Kashmir, Lashkar-e-Taiba, ridiculed the cease-fire as a “sin” and vowed to continue attacks.

The last time the Indian government declared a unilateral cease-fire in Kashmir was during Ramadan in 2000. Analysts criticized it as ineffective, saying it only gave militants breathing room to dig in and regroup, concerns that were echoed on Thursday.

Pakistan and India tried a cease-fire in 2003 along the disputed border. That cease-fire is still in place, but in name only. Both sides have continued to fire bullets and artillery shells across the border, killing many on each side. According to monitors, in just this year alone, the cease-fire has been violated more than a thousand times.

Omar Abdullah, a former chief minister in Kashmir, said that over the years, India’s central government has made many big promises for Kashmir but in the end has never followed through.

“After Ramadan, what next?” he asked. “How do you propose to use this period to reduce the level of anger and levels of alienation and reduce the number of people joining militancy?”