India announced Wednesday that its troops will halt counterinsurgency operations in disputed Kashmir during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
There were no immediate comments from rebel groups fighting against Indian rule in the region. The last truce in counterinsurgency operations declared by India to be Ramadan was in 2000. India and Pakistan signed a ceasefire between their troops in 2003, but India continued to fight against rebels seeking to end Indian control.
India’s Home Office said in a series of tweets that the decision was made to allow Muslims to observe the holy month “in a peaceful environment.”
Another tweet says that Indian troops “reserve the right to avenge themselves when attacked or when it is necessary to protect the lives of innocent people.”
The announcement came one week after all pro-Indian political parties in Kashmir, including the ruling Democratic People’s Party, came to power by forming an alliance with the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata party, calling on the Indian government to fight the riots during Ramadan adjust.
The Bharatiya Janata Party, India’s governing party, rejected the move to the assembly. This year, the fasting begins on Thursday or Friday in Kashmir.
In recent years there have been renewed rebel attacks and public protests against Indian rule, as a new generation of Kashmir rebels, especially in the southern parts of the region, are resuscitating militancy and the reign of New Delhi with weapons and the use of social media Ask a Question.
The Indian authorities are increasingly frustrated by the resistance of the people of Kashmir. Many Kashmiris, in open solidarity with militants, have attempted to assist captured rebels in military counterinsurgency operations by throwing stones at troops who often strike back with firing, resulting in civilian deaths. Last year, at least 29 civilians were killed and hundreds injured in such clashes.
Nuclear-armed India and Pakistan each manage a part of Kashmir, but both claim it in its entirety.
Rebels have been fighting against Indian rule since 1989. They demand that the Kashmir controlled by India become part of Pakistan or unite with the part controlled by Pakistan as an independent country.
India accuses Pakistan of arming and training the rebels, a charge Pakistan denies. Most Kashmiris support the rebel movement and participate in civil street protests against India’s control. Nearly 70,000 people were killed in the uprising and subsequent Indian military action.