Kashmir interlocutor calls on governor NN Vohra, Farooq Abdullah seeks autonomy
Dineshwar Sharma, a former director of Intelligence Bureau, has been appointed to hold a sustained dialogue in militancy-hit Jammu and Kashmir.india Updated: Oct 29, 2017 22:54 IST
The central government’s newly appointed representative for holding a sustained dialogue in Jammu and Kashmir called on the state’s governor NN Vohra on Sunday and discussed the broad parameters of the proposed talks with stakeholders.
The one-hour meeting that took place at the Kashmir House in New Delhi comes days after the Centre announced the appointment of Dineshwar Sharma as its special representative to initiate dialogue, in a fresh move aimed at bringing peace to the troubled state.
After the meeting, a release issued by the Raj Bhavan said the governor briefed Sharma “in great detail about the environment and the expectations and hopes of the political parties and the people at large from the ensuing dialogue”.
“The Governor assured him of all help, as he may require, in carrying through his task, and wished him high success in his endeavour,” the statement said.
Vohra, an experienced hand in handling the Kashmir issue, has been the governor of the state since 2008. In early 2000s he was appointed by the then Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led government as an interlocutor for talks on Kashmir.
On October 26, Sharma, a former director of Intelligence Bureau, had met state chief minister Mehbooba Mufti and discussed the Kashmir issue with her. Sharma, an old Kashmir hand in the country’s internal intelligence agency, enjoys the rank and status of a cabinet secretary.
Home minister Rajnath Singh has already made it clear that Sharma would decide whom to engage with for a resolution of the Kashmir issue.
Meanwhile, opposition National Conference (NC) party’s president Farooq Abdullah said if the Centre wanted to win the hearts of the people of Kashmir, it should restore the autonomy to the state.
“If we talk about the conditions of the accession and autonomy today, should we be labelled as traitors and anti-nationals? Is this the gift of our loyalty? We acceded to you (India) with love, but you did not understand our love and took away all that we had. Then you ask, why we do not embrace you.
“Remember this, Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh will not embrace you till you do not try to win the hearts of the people. And if you want to win our hearts, then return our autonomy to us,” he said in Srinagar, addressing a delegates’ session of his party at the Sher-e-Kashmir cricket stadium.
During the session, Abdullah was re-elected as the NC president.
The veteran leader said former Union home minister P Chidambaram was right in saying that he believed the Centre must consider the areas in which autonomy could be given to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
However, he expressed regret over what the Congress party had done for the state’s autonomy over the years when it was in power at the Centre.
His son and former chief minister Omar Abdullah, for his part, requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to direct his ministers not to issue conflicting statements on the Kashmir issue.
Citing Union minister Jitendra Singh’s remark that “there is no such things as the Kashmir issue”, he asked why the Centre appointed a special representative for a sustained dialogue then.
He said Sharma, who has been tasked with initiating talks with all stakeholders in Kashmir, “would be confused by now due to so many conflicting statements by several Union ministers”.
After the Centre named Sharma as its representative, CM Mufti said talks would be held with everyone and the Hurriyat would be included. However, Singh said there would be no talks with the Hurriyat.
“Then the MoS (Home) also said no talks would be held with the Hurriyat... This won’t work. I have a request. Please stop issuing statements...,” he said.
Autonomy for the state was not outside the purview of the constitution, he said, adding that J-K “has acceded, not merged with India”.