M M Ansari, a former interlocutor, on Monday called the government’s decision to appoint Dineshwar Sharma to hold talks on Kashmir an “eyewash”. Sharma is a former director of the Intelligence Bureau and was a police officer. Ansari said the appointment of a former cop showed the government did not believe problems in Kashmir can be resolved without goli (bullets) or gaali (abuse).
“That the government wants to start a dialogue process is welcome but the appointment of a police officer shows that even though the Prime Minister had said that embracing Kashmiris is the solution, not bullets or abuses, the Indian establishment continues to look at Kashmir through an intelligence and security prism,” Ansari said. “Coming from that background, he (Sharma) has no mandate for removal of AFSPA, no mandate to talk to all stakeholders, including Hurriyat, and will only seek solutions in the intelligence or security realm, without dealing with Kashmir as a political problem,” Ansari added. After hardtalk, Centre offers J&K dialogue; appoints ex-IB director as interlocutor
“It is like going to an orthopaedic surgeon when one has a cardiac problem. It is an eyewash, a futile exercise,” said the former information commissioner.
Ansari, Radha Kumar and late journalist Dileep Padgaonkar were appointed in 2010 by the UPA government as interlocutors in Kashmir. In his Independence Day speech this year, Narendra Modi had said: “Na goli se, na gaali se, Kashmir ki samasya suljhegi gale lagaane se (Kashmir’s problems can be solved only with embracing the people of Kashmir, not with bullets or abuses).”
Kumar described Sharma’s appointment as the “first breakthrough in three-and-a-half years of unadulterated gloom” in an atmosphere of abuse and hate speech. “What I find disturbing in the appointment letter is that he will talk to all with ‘legitimate aspirations’. That is a stringent precondition and a red flag so far as I am concerned. But I do not personally know him so I cannot comment. But there is no doubt that the thrust of such a mission has to be political. That perhaps is a limitation (for Sharma),” Kumar said. Dineshwar Sharma’s appointment may take some pressure off CM, open up political space
Ansari, Kumar and Padgaonkar had spoken to all stakeholders, including the Hurriyat, the Lashkar and Hizbul commanders in the Valley.