SRINAGAR: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh Tuesday said the newly-appointed interlocutor for Jammu and Kashmir, Dineshwar Sharma, would decide whom he engages within the state. Asked if Sharma would hold talks with the Hurriyat Conference, as suggested by some politicians in the state, Rajnath Singh said, “It depends upon him whom he talks to or engages with.”
Sharma, a former director of the Intelligence Bureau (IB), was appointed by the central government as its representative Monday to initiate a dialogue with all stakeholders in Jammu and Kashmir.
Jammu and Kashmir deputy chief minister Nirmal Singh said Tuesday talks can be held even with those separatists who have been arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA). “Actually, we must not link the two things (talks and NIA investigations) because NIA is an autonomous body. It has its mandate and NIA has found certain acts which are not as per the law. So, NIA is taking action,” he said.
“As far as dialogue is concerned, if it is felt that those people, even if they are behind the bars, they can be consulted, no problem in that, because it is happening. It happens everywhere,” Nirmal Singh said.
However, top separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohamamd Yasin Malik are tightlipped on the issue, while a Shia leader, who is a senior leader of moderate faction of Hurriyat Conference, favoured tripartite talks between India, Pakistan and leadership of Kashmir for resolving the issue. Sources said Geelani, Mirwaiz and Malik are engaged in deliberations and have decided to wait and watch.
Shia leader and senior leader of moderate faction of Hurriyat led by Mirwaiz, Maulana Masroor Abbas Ansari, said they understand that a long-lasting solution to the Kashmir issue can be found through result-oriented dialogue. “For that, India has to accept disputed nature of Kashmir and take concrete measures to resolve the issue as per its historical perspective,” he said.
Former interlocutor M M Ansari wondered how the separatists may welcome the appointment of the interlocutor. “The government has jailed many separatist leaders and many more are facing charges from the NIA,” he said. “They have been isolated and humiliated. I don’t think Hurriyat will go for dialogue with the interlocutor,” he said.