SRINAGAR: Interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma, who is arriving on the maiden visit to Jammu and Kashmir on Monday to interact with the stakeholders, said he is very positive about the visit.
“I am very positive about my first visit to J&K as special representative of central government,” Dineshwar Sharma told New Indian Express.
Sharma is arriving on the first visit to J&K tomorrow after being appointed as interlocutor by central government for holding sustained dialogue with stakeholders in J&K.
“I will be visiting Jammu on November 9 and will stay there for two days. I will return back to for Delhi on November 11,” Sharma said.
He, however, said he can extend his stay if more people and delegations come to meet him.
Asked what would be focus of his talks with the stakeholders in the State, Sharma said, “Let me go and meet the people”.
In response to a question whether he would also be inviting separatists for talks, he said, “Let me go and see”.
The separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik have refused to talk to interlocutor.
The three leaders, who spearheaded over five month long agitation in Valley last year following killing of Hizb commander Burhan Wani, have termed appointment of interlocutor as “nothing more than a tactic” to buy time by New Delhi.
However, the opposition parties don’t see any positives in Sharma’s visit.
National Conference president and former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah said they don’t have any expectation with Sharma’s visit to the State.
“I have very little expectations from the interlocutor. Like it has been done before, he will come and meet people. In 2010, then UPA government appointed a group of interlocutors who visited the state and held detailed discussions with every section here. They also submitted a report to central government,” Farooq said while addressing a public gathering at Tangdar in border district of Kupwara today.
He said the central government did not discuss the report in any forum including the Parliament and threw it into a dust bin. “A delegation comprising parliamentarians also visited Kashmir and interacted with people here. They also submitted report to central government but nothing happened on their recommendations. So I expect nothing to happen now as well.”
Asserting that appointment of interlocutor is mired in controversies, Abdullah said, “Home Minister Rajnath Singh described him as an interlocutor while very next day another MoS PMO designated him as a mere spokesperson. So essentially when mandate given to Sharma is not clearly specified, then what is the fun in having deliberations with him?”
NC spokesperson Imran Nabi Dar said the engagement process that central government wanted to start has fallen flat before it could have taken off due to different statements by BJP ministers.
“We don’t know the mandate of interlocutor. The central government needs to spell out his mandate,” he said adding it is another time buying tactics.
State Congress vice president and MLC Ghulam Nabi Monga said there was a lot of confusion on Sharma’s appointment.
“The BJP ministers gave different statements on his appointment creating confusion among the stakeholders. This interlocution process is full of confusion,” he said
Monga said the interlocutor should have invited separatists for the talks because the main issue was with them.
BJP chief spokesperson Sunil Sethi said the separatists should understand that talks can only resolve the issue and should come forward for dialogue.
“Whether a solution comes out of talks or not, we can’t be 100 per cent sure about that. But at least something would definitely come out of the talks,” he said.
According to him, if everybody cooperates with interlocutor and talks with him, solution can be hammered out. “In the world, much more vicious issues than Kashmir have been solved through talks”.
“We would like everybody to come and talk to him. There is nothing wrong in talking and putting your viewpoint and maybe there will be a meeting point and a solution can be found,” Sethi said.
Asked whether Sharma should invite separatists for talks, he said he has already indicated that he would invite everybody.
The BJP spokesman said anything against national integrity is non-negotiable but “beyond that we can talk.”
Meanwhile, a spokesman of hardline Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Geelani said interlocution process is a mere “rhetoric and wastage of time”.
He said no section of Hurriyat or group would meet Sharma or participate in this “futile exercise”.
The spokesman claimed that a state representative during night intervening November 4/5 expressed his desire to meet Geelani to facilitate his meeting with interlocutor.
He did not elaborate further.