Can Centre afford to extend peace truce in the back-drop of the Amarnath Yatra
The Union Home Ministry will take a call on whether the unilateral ceasefire or the truce in Jammu and Kashmir should be extended. While the interlocutors are in favour of the truce being extended, some within the security establishment feel that it should not be done, keeping in mind the upcoming Amarnath Yatra.
Sources in the Union Home Ministry say that there are several dissenting voices and many do not want the truce to be continued especially at such a crucial time. An attack on the Amarnath Yatra would be a big blow and embarrassing for the Union Government. It may be recalled that the Yatra was attacked last year.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh will hold discussions with senior officials which would also include the Director General of the Jammu and Kashmir police, S P Vaid. If the government does not take any call, then it must be understood that the truce period has lapsed.
While security agencies are against the extension, those who are talking peace want the same extended. The truce, as a result of which search and combat operations were halted comes to an end on Eid. The Centre's interlocutor in Kashmir has been trying to broker peace in the Valley. He wants the truce to be extended. Irrespective of what the government's decision would be, he would still meet with the Hurriyat leaders after Eid.
The government has been trying to get the Hurriyat leadership to talk. Rajnath Singh too made comments to this effect. Some have advised the Home Minister that if the truce is not extended then the Hurriyat could use that as an excuse and avoid coming to the talks table.
Sources say that following the meeting, the Home Ministry is unlikely to make any major announcement. If this takes place, then the truce would be deemed as lapsed. An official said that they need to be sensitive to the concerns of the Armed Forces as well, who do not want the truce to be extended. In the wake of the Amarnath Yatra coming up, the forces cannot afford to have their hands tied. After all terrorists had last year broken the unwritten rule that the Yatra will not be attacked.