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A day before the Kashmir visit of interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma, National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah Sunday said the party had “little” expectations from him. He also asked the central government to devise a sound Kashmir policy. “I have very little expectations from this new interlocutor. Like it has been done before, he will come and meet people. In 2010, the then UPA government had appointed a group of interlocutors who visited the state and had detailed discussions with every section here.
“The process took more than two months and after they were done with meeting people, a report was compiled. What happened to that report? Did the government discuss that report in any forum, including the Parliament? No. Instead it has been thrown into a dust bin somewhere in the North Block,” he said. The NC president was addressing a gathering in the Tangdar area of north Kashmir’s Kupwara. The appointment of a group of interlocutors in 2010 was followed by a delegation comprising of parliamentarians, who visited Kashmir, but “nothing happened”, he claimed.
“So, I expect nothing to happen now as well,” Abdullah said and rued the BJP-led central government’s Kashmir-centric policy. “Ever since the Narendra Modi government assumed power, their Kashmir policy has been swinging like a pendulum. The appointment of the new interlocutor is itself mired in controversies,” the NC president said. “Home Minister Rajnath Singh describes him as an interlocutor whereas the very next day another minister in the PMO designates him as a mere spokesperson.
“So essentially, when the mandate given to Sharma is not clearly specified, then what is the fun in having deliberations with him?” he asked. Describing autonomy a way forward towards resolving the state’s political issues, the NC leader said, “Our stand on resolving the issue of JK politically is loud and clear which is the restoration of pre-1953 situation.” “New Delhi is bound to make provisions to grant autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir. This is a guarantee that time and again has been clarified with number of deputations and representatives of the government,” he said.
Therefore, for upholding the political dignity and rights of the state’s people autonomy is a must, the MP claimed. The NC president attacked the PDP-led state government for its “submissiveness” to BJP and alleged that it was a shame that a chief minister has to take “dictations from lower rung BJP functionaries”.