Govt announces sustained dialogue on Kashmir issue

Govt announces sustained dialogue on Kashmir issue

The government on Monday announced a “sustained dialogue” to bring peace in Kashmir and appointed former Intelligence Bureau director Dineshwar Sharma as its interlocutor.

Sharma will have the “freedom to talk to anyone”, including separatists, the Centre said.
The announcement by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh came months after the Centre and the BJP indicated that it was willing to hold a dialogue with every stakeholder, in a subtle change from its earlier position of not engaging with separatists.

The outreach, through the appointment of a mediator, also comes as violence and terrorist activities continue in the Valley following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani in an encounter last year.

The Opposition latched on to the government announcement, saying it is an admission of its failure in Kashmir.

Former home minister P Chidambaram said “from ‘no talks’ to ‘talks with all stakeholders’ is a major victory for those who had strongly argued for a political solution in Kashmir.

“With the appointment of an interlocutor, I hope the government has finally admitted that its ‘muscular approach’ has failed in Kashmir,” he said.

CPI national secretary D Raja said the government had ignored the Opposition parties, which had been demanding such an initiative for long.

Singh said the move is a continuation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day speech when he said “neither by bullet nor by abuses, but by embracing we can solve the problem of Kashmir”.

“The government has shown conviction and consistency on Kashmir. Dineshwar Sharma will initiate a sustained interaction and dialogue to understand the legitimate aspirations of the wide cross sections of society, particularly the youth in Jammu and Kashmir, and communicate them to the state government and the Centre,” Singh said.

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