Central government’s interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma set to begin peace talks in Jammu and Kashmir

Separatists reject talks, dub the process as mere “rhetoric and wastage of time”

Published: 06th November 2017 10:59 AM  |   Last Updated: 06th November 2017 11:33 AM   |  A+A-

Centre's new interlocutor for Jammu and Kashmir, Dineshwar Sharma (File Photo)

Express News Service

SRINAGAR: The Central government’s newly-appointed interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma will begin a six-day visit to the Kashmir Valley from Monday to open talks with “all stakeholders”.

“I am very positive about my first visit to J&K as special representative of the Central government,” the former Intelligence Bureau director told the New Indian Express. “I will be visiting Jammu on November 9 and will stay there for two days. I will return to Delhi on November 11,” Sharma said. He, however, added that he is ready to 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 first”.

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 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.

National Conference president and former chief minister Farooq Abdullah said: “I have very little expectation 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.”

“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,” he added.

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.

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”.

Army foils infiltration bid, two militants killed
Security forces on Sunday foiled an infiltration attempt by the Pakistani Border Action Team (BAT) near the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir’s Uri sector, killing two militants, an official said. Director General of Police (DGP) S P Vaid said there was no casualty on the Indian side and that a possible tragedy was averted by the Army and the Jammu and Kashmir Police (JKP).

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