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2018 Ramzan ceasefire was a ‘peace-making’ initiative, not extended after a review meet: MHA’s Year Ender Report Two women battalions approved for J&K, Leh, Kargil Hill Councils strengthened, now most autonomous councils in country….

Ishtiyaq Ahmad

Srinagar, Dec 25: The Union Ministry of Home Affairs in its annual report has revealed that it took a conciliatory initiative in May 2018 by suspending the operations in the holy month of Ramzan but “the move wasn’t extended after a review meeting” held in New Delhi. The MHA also said that the intensive operations launched after the Ramzan ceasefire resulted in “significant gains.”
“The union government took a major conciliatory initiative in May 2018 by declaring the suspension of operations in the State coinciding with the holy Ramzan month,” reads MHA’s 2018 year-ended report. “However, after a review, it was not extended beyond the Ramzan period following which the forces launched concerted anti-militancy operations resulting in significant gains.”
On May 17, union home minister Rajnath Singh announced suspension of operations in J&K in view of Ramzan. Even though state’s security top brass had advocated continuation of the operations on the pretext that “common people were reaping the peace dividends,” the home minister Singh, however, in a crucial meeting chaired on June 17 in New Delhi announced the end of month-long ceasefire in J&K.
The MHA report states that in the operations launched after Ramzan and before, 238 militants were killed in as many as 587 incidents while 86 forces personnel were killed as well. “37 civilians were killed this year till December 2,” it reads.
The report also states in its report that it has approved the proposal of raising two women battalions for J&K police.
Most significant was the peaceful conduct of the historic Local Body Elections, the report reads.
“The local body elections helped re-establish the long overdue grassroots level democracy in J&K. The urban local body elections were held after 2005 and Panchayat elections after 2011,” the year-ender report of MHA reads. “These elections have paved the way for making available nearly Rs. 4,335 Crores of 14th Finance Commission Central grants to the duly constituted local bodies. Central government provided all possible support to the State Government for smooth conduct of these elections including deployment of central forces in sufficient numbers.”
The home ministry also stated that Leh and Kargil Autonomous Hill Development Councils have been strengthened and empowered to become the “most autonomous” councils in India to address various issues being faced by people living in the remote areas of Ladakh region.
“The LAHDC and KAHDC have been given more powers to levy and collect local taxes. Control has been given over functioning of various departments as well as the Government employees working for the subjects that stand transferred to them,” the report reads.
Considering the crucial role being played by the Special Police Officers in anti-militancy operations in J&K, the reports read that the MHA enhanced their honorarium from Rs 6,000 per month to Rs 9,000 on completion of five years and Rs 12,000 on completion of 15 years.

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