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Azad puts ball in militants' court; offers Ramadan truce

Written by: Staff
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Srinagar, Sep 11 (UNI) Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad today offered to announce a ceasefire during the holy month of Ramadan and even beyond, provided the ultras declare cessation of violence.

In a statement, Mr Azad said he would be happy to respond to a ceasefire announcement by the militants during the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan.

''From the government's side, I will be happy to respond to ceasefire which should not be limited to the holy month only, but can be extended even beyond that period in case the militants declare to shun the violence,'' he added.

The Chief Minister said the people of the state would appreciate the move.

''The people of Jammu and Kashmir are completely fed up with violence and bloodshed. Time has come to openly declare an end to all forms of violence...be it attacks on innocents, throwing of grenades, planting of IEDs and resorting to harassment of people by the militants,'' he added.

Mr Azad expressed the hope that the truce would not only help in progress and development of the state, but also provide an opportunity to the people to get the rid of violence and miseries for ever.

''Militants will also accordingly realize that peace is the demand of the people and gun culture has no relevance in any civilized society when issues can be sorted out on a negotiating table in a peaceful atmosphere,'' he added.

UNI AG MSJ BD1613

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