Militants-security forces skirmish after ceasefire announcement

New Delhi, May 16: Exchange of fire between the militants and the security forces was reported from Shopian in Kashmir hours after the Central government decided to stop operations in Jammu and Kashmir during the holy month of Ramzan. Initial reports suggest that there was an  “exchange of fire” in Shopian’s Jamnagri area.

“We are cross checking the details. No cordon and search operation was launched in the area,” a Srinagar-based spokesman was quoted as saying. Sources added that no militant was killed or trapped. Media reports say that CRPF, Special Operation Group (SOG) and the Army’s 23 PARA commandos are active in the area.

Earlier on Wednesday, the central government announced a ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir during Ramadan, saying this was necessary to help "peace loving Muslims" observe the holy month in a peaceful environment.

A Home Ministry statement said that security forces had been told not to launch operations in Jammu and Kashmir during the holy month.

The decision was taken "to help the peace loving Muslims observe Ramzan in a peaceful environment", it said.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh conveyed the decision to Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who had made an appeal for a Ramadan ceasefire in the state on May 9.

But the statement said that security forces would reserve the right to retaliate if attacked or if it was essential to protect the lives of innocent people.

"Government expects everyone to cooperate in this initiative and help the Muslim brothers and sisters to observe Ramzan peacefully and without any difficulties.

"It is important to isolate the forces that bring a bad name to Islam by resorting to mindless violence and terror," it said.