Dineshwar Sharma’s Kashmir visit: J&K govt urges stakeholders to come forward, keep their point before him

Sharma's Kashmir visit: Former IB chief Sharma is the fourth interlocutor appointed by the Government of India since 2002.

Written by Arun Sharma | New Delhi | Updated: November 6, 2017 10:36 pm
Dineshwar Sharma, Kashmir interlocutor, Centre, BJP, India news, Express online Kashmir interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma reached J&K on Monday

As Dineshwar Sharma, the Centre’s special representative for Kashmir reached J&K on Monday, the state government urged the separatist Hurriyat Conference leaders to come forward and keep their view point before him.

“We would like even if there is a single person, whose cooperation is required to solve the issue, he shall cooperate for it and that is why doors are open to all,” said Deputy Chief Minister and senior BJP leader Nirmal Singh on the reopening of civil secretariat and other durbar move offices in Jammu on Monday.

“We also believe that if peace has to be restored in Jammu and Kashmir, then all who sincerely want it to return shall cooperate honestly instead of making such statements. And those who do not cooperate will expose themselves,” Singh said in response to a question about Hurriyat Conference’s decision to boycott Sharma, who has been appointed as Kashmir interlocutor by Centre.

In an apparent reference to Hurriyat Conference, he said that if they chose to close their doors like in the past, when some of the members of the parliamentary delegation went to meet them on their own, they will expose themselves that they do not want to talk under Pakistan’s pressure. “Hurriyat leaders shall understand that Pakistan is using them, terrorists and getting local Kashmiri youth killed by misleading them,” Singh said, adding that Pakistan Prime Minister’s refusal to support their demand for an independent Kashmir has made everything clear.

“If they are really the well wishers of the people of Kashmir, then they shall come forward for talks and place their view point before the visiting interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma,” he said. Pointing out that people of Kashmir also want restoration of peace, so that there is a situation where all the people sit together to find some solution to the problem within the state, he said, “I hope and suggest that they must come forward for dialogue.”

Earlier, Minister for Public Works and state government spokesperson Naeem Akhtar described the appointment of Dineshwar Sharma as interlocutor as the “initiation of first institutionalised and structured dialogue by the Government of India, with all the stakeholders in the state. Unlike previous interlocutors, Sharma has been appointed by President of India and he has also been given a position in the government structure. “It is a structured and sustained dialogue which means that whatsoever comes, we have to talk,” he pointed out.

After former union minister K C Pant, present state Governor N N Vohra and a three-member panel including former Information Commissioner M M Ansari, academician Radha Kumar and journalist Dileep Padgaonkar, former IB chief Sharma is the fourth interlocutor appointed by the Government of India since 2002.

“I cannot tell you the level of expectation government has, but we do expect that it is a very sincere effort on part of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he has started this process from the ramparts of Red Fort on Independence Day. That was the national commitment made by him about Kashmir policy and a serious move by his government,” he added.

When asked about Pakistan Prime Minister’s refusal to support Hurriyat Conference’s demand for independent Kashmir, Naeem Akhtar said, “such talks keep on going on with Pakistan talking one thing, Hurriyat another and we our own. We have a position that Jammu Kashmir is part of India, but there are issues which need to be resolved,” he said, adding that “Sharma’s visit to the state will help in implementation of our Agenda of Alliance whose fundamental principle is that talks should be held. Now when talks have begun, we shall wait for their outcome.”

About Hurriyat’s refusal to meet the visiting interlocutor, Akhtar said — “negotiation is a very long and torturous process. It has ups and downs and negotiations start from positions, generally hard positions. If there are no hard positions, then you would not need interlocutor, you would not need a dialogue.”

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