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I will need to talk to everybody, says Kashmir interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma

Former Intelligence Bureau chief Dineshwar Sharma is expected to visit strife-torn Kashmir within eight to 10 days.

india Updated: Oct 24, 2017 09:02 IST
Harinder Baweja
Harinder Baweja
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Rajnath Singh‬,‪Government of India‬,‪Dineshwar Sharma‬
File photo of Kashmiri protesters throwing rocks and bricks at an armoured vehicle belonging to paramilitary soldiers during a protest in Srinagar. Dineshwar Sharma was chosen to lead talks for peace in Kashmir that has been wracked by violence since the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani last year.(AP)

“For a substantive dialogue, I will need to talk to everybody,’’ former Intelligence Bureau director Dineshwar Sharma told Hindustan Times, minutes after home minister Rajnath Singh announced his name as the government’s representative to lead a “sustained dialogue” process for Jammu and Kashmir. The state has been on the boil since the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani in an encounter in July last year.

Sharma, who headed the Intelligence Bureau last year when violent protests followed the killing of Wani, was called in for a meeting with national security advisor Ajit Doval and the home minister a few hours before the formal announcement, top sources revealed.

Sharma did not want to answer questions on whether he would engage with separatists belonging to the Hurriyat Conference but emphasised that he would speak “to all stakeholders”.

“Peace must be restored in Kashmir and for that I will talk to all people in an effort to bring about a solution,’’ he said.

The newly-appointed interlocutor said he will make his first visit to the strife-torn Valley within “eight-10 days” but multiple government sources confirmed that a lot of homework has already been done.

An intelligence officer, who did not want to be named, as he is not authorised to speak to the media, said, “We have been holding informal parleys with the separatists and have urged them to be part of the dialogue process.” It is not clear whether the separatists would be a part of the just announced dialogue process.

The parleys with various stakeholders — including former militants who gave up the gun and those who returned from camps in Pakistan where they had trained — were in progress when Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his independence day speech, said: ‘Na goli seh, na gali seh, baat banegi gale lag ke.” Modi, had, from the ramparts of the Red Fort, indicated that the way forward lay in a dialogue and not through violence.

Several governments in the past have tried to find a solution through negotiations. The Atal Behari Vajpayee government held talks with the separatists and current chief minister Mehbooba Mufti has for long been asking Modi to ‘’do a Vajpayee”. Mufti’s PDP and the BJP are coalition partners in Jammu and Kashmir.

The UPA government too had appointed interlocutors after the unrest in the Valley in 2010 but the report, submitted to then home minister P Chidambaram was never acted upon.

“I hope I will be able live up to the trust the government of India has showed and will be able to fulfill the expectations of the people,” Sharma told ANI.

Sharma, who will soon visit the Valley, has a tough task ahead as he starts the search for peace.

First Published: Oct 23, 2017 19:09 IST