Kashmir military operations halted for Ramadan May 17, 2018 0 1661 12345 AFPNew DelhiIndian military operations against rebels in the disputed Kashmir territory were suspended Wednesday in a rare gesture for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.The 30-day halt is the first of its kind in Indian-controlled Kashmir for nearly two decades, and follows an escalation of violence in recent months in the Muslim-majority Himalayan region.India has 500,000 troops in Kashmir, which is divided between India and Pakistan and claimed by both. Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the suspension was to allow a peaceful celebration of the fasting month.The decision means Indian troops will stop the pursuit of militants and door-to-door house searches -- but they will still retaliate if attacked, officials said. In a statement, Singh sought the cooperation of"everyone"in the initiative but did not make a direct call for militants to suspend hostilities.There was no immediate response from militant groups that have been fighting Indian rule in the territory for nearly three decades.Indian authorities and Hizbul Mujahideen, the largest indigenous militant group, both briefly stopped fighting in 2000. However, the conflict has never shown any serious sign of ending.Violence escalated after Indian troops killed a top militant commander in a 2016 gunfight that led to months of street protests in which scores of demonstrators were killed. Dozens of young men have since joined militant groups and there are now almost daily gunfights between armed rebels and Indian soldiers. More than 200 militants and 57 civilians were killed in 2017. Many of the civilians were killed in protests to stop troops firing on holed-up rebels.More than 70 militants have been killed this year in dozens of gunfights and more than 30 civilians have also died.Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who runs the Kashmir government in an alliance with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party, expressed hope that the decision"will create a peaceful and amicable environment for sustained dialogue".Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since the end of British rule in 1947. They have fought two wars over the disputed territory.Rebel groups seek independence or a merger of the territory with Pakistan. India accuses Pakistan of arming the rebels, but Islamabad says it only gives diplomatic and moral support. Six civilians were shot dead by government forces in protests over the killing of five militants on May 7. POST A COMMENT RELATED ARTICLES Kanpur struggles to track pollution with world's worst air May 17, 2018 0 47 Karnataka governor invites Yeddyurappa to form BJP govt May 17, 2018 0 46 Cauvery board will implement tribunal award, says top court May 17, 2018 0 47 Centre seeks Bengal poll violence report again IANS New Delhi The Central government on Wednesday again sought a report from the West Bengal government over the violence during panchayat elections in the state earlier this week that left at least 10 dead. "The .. Five minor boys rescued, 2 traffickers held Guwahati The Railway Protection Force (RPF) rescued five minor boys and arrested two traffickers from Rangiya Railway Staion in Assam, Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) officials said on Wednesday."On getting .. Kerala tourism Facebook page ranked first Thiruvananthapuram The Kerala Tourism Facebook page has secured the first place among FB tourism pages of all states across the country in 2017, officials said on Wednesday. The Kerala page, which has garnered 1.5 .. Four Maharashtra tribal students scale Mt Everest Mumbai Four tribal students, including a girl, of ashram schools in Maharashtra have scaled the world's highest mountain, Mount Everest. They are Manisha Dhurve, 18, Umakant Madavi and Parmesh Aale, both 19, from .. Sahara Aamby valley auction to continue: SC New Delhi The Supreme Court on Wednesday said the process for the auction of Sahara's Aamby Valley project in Maharashtra will continue after the group failed to deposit Rs 750 crore in the SEBI-Sahara Refund .. Search on for over 30 missing after Andhra boat mishap IANS Vijayawada Rescue operations continue on Wednesday in the Godavari River in Andhra Pradesh where over 30 people are feared drowned after a launch capsized last evening. Personnel from the Indian Navy traced the .. Lalu's Grand Alliance will defeat BJP in 2019: Tejashwi IANS Patna RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav on Wednesday said that former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad's formula of a"Mahagatbandhan"(Grand Alliance) at the national level is the only way to defeat the BJP-led NDA in .. Yeddyurappa elected BJP House leader Bengaluru The newly elected Karnataka BJP legislators on Wednesday elected B.S. Yeddyurappa as their legislative party leader and he soon staked claim to form the government though the party is eight seats short of a ..