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July 28, 2000
Army HQ denies suspension of operations in J&K
Josy Joseph in New Delhi
The army has not suspended operations against insurgents in Jammu and Kashmir, Army Headquarters clarified in an official statement in New Delhi on Friday evening.
The army's clarification came after some news agencies put out a report misinterpreting a statement by a top officer in the valley calling for restraint to mean that the force had suspended all anti-insurgency operations in response to the ceasefire declared by the Hizbul Mujahideen.
Major General Basant Singh, chief of staff of the Srinagar-based 15 Corps, had asked his men to exercise restraint and not attack militants except in self-defence. He had also said that all offensive anti-insurgency operations would be put on hold, but the troops would continue to remain where they had been deployed and guard the valley and there would be no ceasefire.
Yet some agencies put out reports interpreting the general's statement to mean that the army had declared a ceasefire in the valley, shocking the top brass in Delhi, especially with Parliament in session and the government yet to decide on the Hizbul Mujahideen's cease-fire offer.
The pro-Pakistan Hizb, one of the most active and powerful extremist groups in Kashmir, had declared a cease-fire earlier this week to facilitate a dialogue between the government and the insurgents.
The army has three corps in Kashmir, with a total strength of over 100,000 soldiers, and some specialist forces fighting the Pakistan-backed terrorists.
"The ceasefire offer is under the deliberation of the government. There is no change in the military stand against the proxy war till a decision is taken by the government," the Army HQ's terse statement read.
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