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Political parties, separatists hail UJC's unilateral ceasefire
October 09, 2007 12:33 IST
Cutting across ideological differences, political parties and separatists in Jammu and Kashmir [Images] on Tuesday welcomed the unilateral three-day ceasefire announced by the United Jehad Council, saying the Centre should reciprocate the gesture.
"It is a good move which should have come earlier," said Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chairman of the moderate faction of the Hurriyat Conference.
UJC chief Syed Salahuddin had announced the unilateral ceasefire in the state from October 12 on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr. The UJC is an umbrella organisation of 13 militant groups.
Mirwaiz said the Centre should respond to the positive development by declaring a truce with militants and restarting the dialogue process for a durable and lasting resolution of the Kashmir issue.
"The UJC has taken the initiative...the government of India should respond positively so that there is a complete cessation of hostilities in the state," he said.
However, the Syed Ali Shah Geelani-led hardline faction of the Hurriyat Conference refused to comment on the gesture, saying it was an issue of militant leadership.
People's Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti, while welcoming the move, said it would come as a breather for the people of the state who have been suffering for the past 17 years. She said the onus was now on the Centre to reciprocate the goodwill gesture.
Senior vice president of the Pradesh Congress Committee Abdul Gani Vakil also hailed the ceasefire and expressed hope that guns in the state would soon fall silent. "We have been in favour of a ceasefire for a long time now. The guns should fall silent," he said.
Asked if a similar move should also be announced by the Centre, he said that security forces need not use their arms if there is no hostile action against the nation coming from any quarter.
"The security forces are using their guns only in defence of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and the integrity of the nation," he said, adding that the dialogue process is the only way to resolve all disputes, issue and differences.
Senior separatist leader and president of Democratic Freedom Party Shabir Ahmad Shah also hailed the ceasefire and said the ball was now in the government's court.