The Centre's special representative for talks on Kashmir, Dineshwar Sharma, will land in the Valley on Monday to reach out to various stakeholders to restore peace in the state.
Former Intelligence Bureau director, Sharma is open to meeting the political leadership and other prominent voices to push forward the peace initiative, which had begun after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his August 15 speech, had stated that abuses and bullets cannot solve the Kashmir problem, but hugging each other would.
Sharma (61) had recently stated that he was going to the Valley with "no blinkers on" and would meet every common person having a genuine grievance. His immediate priority is to come up with ways to counter the propaganda that is being fanned online and rope in the youth to bolster the peace process.
Kashmiri separatists have already made it clear that they are not keen on engaging with the former IPS officer from the Kerala cadre.
In a joint statement, recently issued by Hurriyat Conference leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and JKLF chief Yasin Malik, they had stated that the appointment of a peace interlocutor was a delaying tactic "adopted under international pressure and regional compulsions".
Sharma's announcement that his brief was to restore peace "limits the scope of any engagement" as the reach out is not to address the dispute, they commented.