Army Convoy Attacked, So Much For Ramazan Ceasefire
3 soldiers injured
SRINAGAR: Barely hours after a civilian and an Army soldier were killed, suspected militants attacked an army convoy in south Kashmir today with an IED explosion, injuring three soldiers and dealing another setback to the Centre’s ‘Ramazan Ceasefire’ initiative.
Police officials and witnesses said militants triggered a medium IED explosion today at around 8 am in Turkwangam village of Shopian district when a Cassiper vehicle of the army’s 44 Rashtriya Rifles was passing through the area as part of normal patrolling duty.
“The vehicle was thrown into the air due to the impact of the explosion, resulting in injuries to three soldiers who were rushed to the Srinagar base hospital for treatment. However, their condition is stable,” a senior police officer said.
The explosion came barely hours after a fierce exchange of fire between suspected militants and the army in the adjoining Pulwama district of south Kashmir left a civilian and an army soldier dead last night.
Officials said militants fired upon the army’s 50 Rashtriya Rifles camp at Kakapora around 10:15 last night. “Militants first lobbed a grenade and then fired indiscriminately at the camp. The fire was retaliated, triggering a brief gun battle in which a civilian and a soldier were injured,” a police officer said.
The injured were rushed to Srinagar for specialised treatment where both succumbed to their injuries. The last rites of the slain civilian, identified as Bilal Ganie, a driver by profession, were attended by thousands of people at his native place.
The twin attacks by militants are seen as a setback to the ‘Ramzan Ceasefire’ initiative of the Centre which has brought a semblance of calm and normalcy in the Valley where record number of militants and civilians were killed in the first four months of this year.
However, while the state government has appealed the Centre to extend the initiative beyond the holy month of Ramazan and start a dialogue with Islamabad and the Hurriyat, the relentless attacks by militants will raise questions on the durability of the move that has been hailed widely across the political spectrum.
Reacting to the union home minister Rajnath Singh’s latest offer of dialogue, the Hurriyat Conference has said that the Centre must accept the five-point proposal mooted by separatists in 2010 as basis for talks between New Delhi, Islamabad and people of Kashmir.
Among other issues, the proposal calls for demilitarisation of civilian areas, revocation of ‘draconian’ laws like Armed Forces Special Powers Act and Public Safety Act and release of all political prisoners held in different jails across the country.