New Delhi: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday announced that the government has decided to start a sustained dialogue on Kashmir. Former Intelligence Bureau director Dineshwar Sharma has been appointed as the representative of the government to initiate dialogue in the insurgency-hit state, the Union Home Minister said.
“As a Representative of Government of India, former Director of IB, Dineshwar Sharma will initiate a sustained interaction and dialogue to understand legitimate aspirations of people in Jammu and Kashmir,” Singh said while addressing a hurriedly-convened press conference.
Invoking Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s independence day speech, Singh said the Narendra Modi-led central government is sensitive to issues pertaining to Jammu and Kashmir.
“From the ramparts of Red Fort, PM had said, “Neither by bullet, nor by abuses but by embracing the people we can solve the problems in J&K,” Singh said.
“The Prime Minister’s statement had clearly underlined our government’s policy and intention towards Jammu and Kashmir,” he said, adding that Centre’s representative will engage with all walks of life in the state and understand their legitimate aspirations.
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti welcomed the initiative of the union government. “Dialogue is a necessity of the hour and the only way to go forward,” Mufti wrote on Twitter.
Reflecting on the government’s announcement, former Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah said, “The acceptance of the political nature of the Kashmir issue is a resounding defeat of those who could only see use of force as a solution.”
Sharma, a 1979-batch (retired) officer of the Indian Police Service, served as the IB director between December 2014 and 2016. When asked whether Sharma would have dialogue with the Hurriyat Conference, Singh said the representative will decide whom he wants to hold talks with.
Last week, Kashmir DGP Shesh Paul Void said around 160 militants have been killed in state police’s latest security campaign this year, but admitted that Kashmir needs a “political initiative” and the central government should take steps to prevent “jobless” youth from being “influenced by a lot of unwanted and dangerous stuff”.