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Mehbooba Mufti, Omar Abdullah hail appointment of interlocutor for Kashmir issue

The mainstream camp in Jammu and Kashmir including Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and ruling BJP have welcomed the appointment of interlocutor on the Kashmir issue by the central government.

Published: 23rd October 2017 11:06 PM  |   Last Updated: 24th October 2017 07:28 AM   |  A+A-

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti (File | PTI)

Express News Service

SRINAGAR: The mainstream camp in Jammu and Kashmir including Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and ruling BJP have welcomed the appointment of interlocutor on Kashmir by central government for holding talks with stakeholders in the State.

 “This is the need of the hour and only way to go forward. It is a good initiative,” Mehbooba said while addressing a press conference, here.

She said this is part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s August 15 speech in which he had said Kashmir issue can’t be resolved by abuses and bullets but by embracing Kashmiri people and reconciliation.

“Security measures are taken care of  but political process is must and is now starting again without any conditions,” the CM said.

Mehbooba said former director of Intelligence Bureau (IB) Dineshwar Sharma, who has been appointed as interlocutor, has been involved in talks process in north east and did a good job. “We hope he would talk to all stake holders here”.

The CM said she hopes that the stakeholders would contribute to the dialogue process so that J&K can be taken out of this mess and bloodshed.

“People of Kashmir are fed up with the violence and present situation. We hope stakeholders would realise that central government has taken a step and they too should take a step,” she said adding, “I think every stakeholder should have a concern on how to take J&K out of this mess”.

Asked whether the interlocutor should also talk to separatists, she said, “Home Minister did not talk of any group. He talked of every stakeholder. He has given authority to interlocutor to talk to anybody.”

Former J&K Chief Minister and opposition National Conference leader Omar Abdullah said the acceptance of the political nature of Kashmir issue is a resounding defeat of those, who could only see use of force as a solution.

“Will keep an open mind and wait to see results of the dialogue process,” he said.

“One can’t get everything so for now we’ll take what we can get. More important than the person is the mandate and absence of pre-conditions,” Omar said.

According to him, the “legitimate aspirations” of people of J&K is an interesting formulation. “Who gets to decide what is legitimate?”

“What does this mean for the NIA investigation in J&K? Will investigation be suspended to facilitate dialogue with detained Hurriyat leaders,” he questioned.

The State Congress president G A Mir said Congress has always given priority to dialogue.

“We have been saying this since last 3 years that talks should be held with all stakeholders including separatists to end bloodshed in the State. We lost so much of time due to uncertainty. It was because of their rigidness,” he said.

Mir said now that centre has appointed interlocutor, it should clear who are the stakeholders with whom he should talk.

“They should make the list of stakeholders public,” he said adding, “PDP and BJP have been talking to centre. Talks should be held with those, who have issues”.

Former State Congress chief Saif-ud-Din Soz also welcomed appointment of interlocutor by central government.

He said the interlocutor should hold dialogue with all stakeholders including the separatists.

Senior J&K BJP leader and  Deputy Chief Minister, Dr Nirmal Singh hailed central government’s initiative to appoint former IB Director as interlocutor to initiate dialogue in the State.

State BJP chief spokesman Sunil Sethi said the party is not averse to talk.

“We want that dialogue should be held with every stakeholder, whosoever is ready for talks,” he said.

He, however, said any solution to the issue should be within the constitution of India.

Meanwhile, spokesman of hardline faction of separatist conglomerate Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Geelani, Ghulam Ahmad Gulzar said the executive council (Majlis Shoora) of the conglomerate will take a call if it receives invitation for talks.

The moderate separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and pro-independence JKLF chairman have remained tight-lipped.



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