<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after Mehbooba Mufti government announced amnesty to first time stone throwers, centre’s Special Representative Dineshwar Sharma is all set to kick-start `Mission Kashmir’ 2.0 and meet the cross sections of society in strife-torn Jammu and Kashmir.Unlike his previous visit last month, Sharma is starting his tour from the winter capital city Jammu on Friday. Sharma will be visiting the migrant pandit camps and meet the representatives of the community to discuss their problems.During his last visit he had met the delegation of Panun Kashmir, an apex body of Kashmir migrant pandits in Jammu. This time around he is touring their camps in Jagti and take on the spot view of their problems.Official figures reveal that around 41,117 migrant families from Kashmir are registered in Jammu and 21,000 others in Delhi and other states. Of the total migrant families living in Jammu, 37,128 are Hindus, 2,246 Muslims, and 1,758 Sikhs.Figures released by Kashmir Pandit Sangrash Simiti (KPSS), an apex body of non-migrant pandits, reveal that 677 Kashmiri pandits have been killed by the militants since 1990. The figures include the mass massacres of Kashmiri Pandits at different places at different times. However, the state government figures reveal that only 219 Kashmiri Pandits were killed in the state since 1989.“From day one we have been saying pandit townships in Kashmir are not alternative to our miseries. We believe that homeland for pandits in the valley with Union territory status is the only solution”, said Ashwani Kumar Chrungoo, president of Panun Kashmir.In a resolution passed by Panun Kashmir in December 1991, Kashmiri Pandits demanded that the Centre create a homeland comprising the regions of the valley to the East and North of river Jhelum. The homeland, according to Panun Kashmir, should have a union territory status where the Constitution of India is made applicable in letter and spirit to ensure a right to life, liberty, freedom of expression and faith, equality and rule of law.“We have met Sharma last time and we do not have any problem in meeting him again if he desires so this time around. We will be pressing for a homeland. We also want to reiterate that the sovereignty of the country is non-negotiable. It is the bottom-line and government should make it clear during discussions”, said Chrungoo.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The RSS had made its wishlist clear for what it expects from newly-appointed Jammu and Kashmir interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma. No preference to separatist elements and equal weight for the public opinion of all the regions of the state, not just the Valley, are at the heart of the rightwing thinking.Chief RSS affiliate working in Kashmir, Jammu Kashmir Study Circle (JKSC), told DNA that the interlocutor needed to approach the people of the state as a “common man himself” and not be overwhelmed with the separatist narrative that is “current in just five districts of the Valley”.JKSC believes that former spymaster Sharma must not give any preferential treatment to the Hurriyat leaders. “We are not saying that Hurriyat leaders must not be talked with. But, they must not be given any preference over others or they must not be considered as the sole voice of Kashmir. If they wish they can approach the interlocutor and express their views, but Sharma must not invite them especially,” said JKSC media director Abha Khanna.”Hurriyat has lost the trust and support of the people and that needs to be made clear,” Khanna said. “Sharma must ask them why their children have not been throwing stones, and are the legatees of state patronage in the form of government jobs and properties across the country.”Khanna also told DNA that there were such nascent yet powerful and numerically dominant sections among the common people of the state who want to come to the mainstream and yet were unable to sound their views due to threat perception from the separatists.”Anybody who wants to get a real sense of Kashmir, they must go as a non-entity, not as a journalist and not as a bureaucrat or as a politician. One should go like a tourist and go around and about on the day of a bandh call by the separatists. Then you shall see that life goes normally without being effected, only some shop shutters will be seen closed. That is the real Kashmir,” Khanna said.”There is a growing civil society in the state which so far has not been allowed to grow. It is nascent, but numerically powerful and must be taken into consideration by the interlocutor. They have not been able to come in the public realm openly due to the fear psychosis created by the separatists. They must be reached out to because they shall not be able to dare to approach Sharma on their own,” the JKSC director said. “Some such groups are women or villagers whose problems are civic and not separatism.”Moreover, the RSS-backed body wants an end to the dehyphenation of the Valley from the other regions of the state such as Kargil and Ladakh. “The state is diverse; the people of Kargil or Doda or Ladakh or Jammu are equal to those in the Valley. Why should their voice not command equal weight,” Khanna added.Meanwhile, Sharma would be back in the Valley on November 26. He would be visiting Mufti’s constituency and south Kashmir.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today directed a panel to review cases against youth facing charges of in stone-pelting in the2015-2017 period, and furnish recommendations in ten days.Mufti had yesterday announced the beginning of the process of withdrawal of cases against youths accused of first-time involvement. The decision was taken considering the suggestion of the Centre’s special representative Dineshwar Sharma, an official spokesperson said. “In a decision of immense significance, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today ordered the review of cases against the youth for the period 2015-2017 (till date) by an already constituted committee and furnishing of its recommendations within 10 days,” the spokesman said.The panel tasked with reviewing cases against youth for the 2008-2014 period has been asked to review the cases for 2015-2017 cases as well, according to a government order. Soon after assuming the office of chief minister in April, 2016, Mufti had set in motion a process to review cases against youth from 2008 to 2014 which, however, was disrupted due to the continued violence and unrest in the later part of the year. The chief minister described today’s decision as a ray of hope for “these young boys and their families”. She hoped the decision would help in creating a positive and conciliatory atmosphere in the state.Mufti yesterday announced withdrawal of cases against youths accused of being involved in stone-pelting for the first time. She said this confidence building measure reaffirmed the Centre’s commitment to creating an atmosphere for sustained dialogue. “It gives me immense satisfaction to restart the process of withdrawing FIRs against first-time offenders involved in stone pelting. My government had initiated the process in May last year but it was stalled due to the unrest,” she posted on Twitter last night.It is encouraging that the interlocutor has started on a positive note, she said adding that Sharma’s recommendations were being taken seriously by both the central and state governments. Taking the suggestion of Sharma forward, over 4,500 cases against youths involved in stone pelting for the first time will be dropped in a bid to win hearts, officials had said earlier. Sharma, who visited the Valley earlier this month, was flooded with requests from various individuals and groups for withdrawal of cases against first-timers booked by the police for stone pelting.Over 11,500 cases were registered against stone pelters since July last year when unrest broke out in Kashmir following the gunning down of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani in an encounter, officials had said.Out of these, over 4,500 cases were registered against youths indulging in stone pelting for the first time, they said.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rehabilitation of surrendered local terrorists, 800 mega watt power, and increased compensation of Rs 30 lakh for police officers who die on duty are part of Centre’s new plan to reach out to the people of the Valley.Sources said, Centre has decided to implement these measures at the earliest after consulting the state government.The provision for providing electricity is part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Rs 80,000-crore package for the state. With mass recruitment of local youth by terror outfits, the Centre and state government have also planned a surrender strategy to convince them to return to mainstream.”There is a plan to rehabilitate them. Some have surrendered so far, but efforts are on to make sure more youth give up arms,” an official said.In view of the increase in demand of power in the state during winter, the government has decided to allocate nearly 800 MW of power.Officials said the measures are planned to win over the confidence of local population after a prolonged period of violence in the state since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani in July last year.”There have been consultations among various agencies of the Centre and the state government, and it is felt that it is important to reach out to the people of Kashmir,” a government official said.Centre has also declared an increased amount of compensation to state police constables who lose their lives while fighting terrorists. The families will be given Rs 30 lakh, Rs 18 lakh to be paid by the state and Rs 12 lakh by the Centre. This move brings compensation for state police forces at par with that of central forces.Security forces have killed 195 terrorists this year till now but over 70 security personnel lost their lives in counter terror operations.The terror kills have been higher than previous years but according to an analysis by the security agencies it has increased the hostility with new terror recruits. This has increased the cycle of violence prompting the government to take measures to win the confidence of the local population.There have been several instances of stone pelting on security forces during anti terror operations.There is also relief for first time stone-pelters as cases against them will be dropped.The Centre earlier appointed former Intelligence Bureau chief Dineshwar Sharma as a special representative to initiate a dialogue with all stakeholders in Kashmir.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Centre’s special representative for Jammu and Kashmir, Dineshwar Sharma, on Thursday said he would try to meet separatist leaders as part of government’s efforts to resolve the issues facing the state through a sustained dialogue.He is on a five-day visit to the state and will spend two days in Jammu where he will hold talks with Governor N N Vohra, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and various delegations.”I will try my best,” Sharma told reporters when asked if he would go an extra mile to meet the Hurriyat Conference leaders.The Joint Resistance Forum, a conglomerate of three separatist organisations–the hardline and moderate factions of the Hurriyat Conference and the JKLF–had announced that they would not meet with him and dubbed his appointment a “time-buying tactic” of the Centre.On his engagements so far, Sharma said his meetings had gone well.”I met a lot of people. I wish that peace returns to Kashmir very soon and a political solution also comes as quickly as possible,” he added.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Pakistan army, along with terror groups and ISI, has stepped up attempts to infiltrate and carry out attacks in Kashmir to derail efforts of special representative Dineshwar Sharma to initiate talks in the conflict-hit state, intelligence inputs shared with top security officials suggest.According to ground intelligence two days after the announcement of Sharma’s appointment on October 23, Syed Salauddin, who heads the United Jihad Council, an umbrella group of terror organisations active in Kashmir, in a meeting on October 25 gave instructions that 45-50 terrorists should infiltrate India and carry out strikes aiming to disrupt any efforts for a dialogue.ISI and Pakistani army officials were also present in the conference held in Muzaffarabad, according to reports based on human and technical intelligence shared with top officials in the security establishment.Sharma, a former Intelligence Bureau chief, reached Srinagar on Monday to begin talks with all stakeholders.The Centre decided to initiate talks with all stakeholders in Jammu and Kashmir hoping to restore peace by appointing Sharma as a “special representative for a sustained dialogue” following a prolonged period of violence in the state over the last one year.The separatist Hurriyat Conference has already rejected the offer of any talks through the interlocutor.In another instance, at a meeting of 3 PoK Brigade in Kotli across the Line of Control infiltrations and cross border raids were discussed.Intelligence inputs indicate that Pakistani terror groups, with the help of Pakistani army, will continue infiltration attempts even as winter sets in.Security agencies have also indentified 10 locations from where the terrorist infiltration or a cross border raid that included Paksitani army regulars can take place. Movement of terrorists and intercepts at these locations indicate they are planning a strike.Over the last one year, since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander, there has been an escalation in violence. The stone-pelting mobs including women and children clashing with security forces had become a routine affair last year. With terror outfits luring local youth and terrorists burning down schools, the dialogue process will help bringing them back to mainstream.The security forces have gunned down nearly 180 terrorists this year compared to 150 in 2016.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day before Centre’s new interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma kicks off his ‘Mission Kashmir’, premier opposition party National Conference threw a spanner saying they have no expectations from the process and renewed their demand for autonomy for Jammu and Kashmir.For the first time since he was appointed interlocutor, Sharma is arriving in Srinagar on Monday on a six-day visit. During his visit, he is scheduled to meet cross-sections of society, though Joint Resistance Leadership of separatists have ruled out any talks with Sharma, calling the process an “exercise in futility”.”I have very little expectations from this new interlocutor. Like it has been done before, he will come and meet people. In 2010, then UPA government appointed interlocutors who visited the state and had detailed discussions with every section here,” said Dr Farooq Abdullah, National Conference (NC) President.Elaborating, Abdullah said the process took more than two months, after which a report was compiled. “What happened to that report? Did the government discuss that report in any forum, including Parliament? No. Instead it has been thrown into a dustbin somewhere in North Block. It was followed by a delegation comprising parliamentarians who visited Kashmir. What happened to that delegation and their recommendations? Nothing happened. So I expect nothing to happen now as well”, he said.National Conference president noted that since the Modi-led government assumed power, their Kashmir policy has been swinging like a pendulum. “The appointment of the new interlocutor itself is mired in controversies. Home Minister Rajnath Singh describes him as an interlocutor, whereas the very next day another minister in the PMO designates him as a mere spokesperson. So essentially when the mandate given to Dineshwar Sharma is not clearly specified, then what is the fun in having deliberations with him?” he askedRejecting the dialogue offer, a spokesman of a hardline faction of Hurriyat Conference said no section of Hurriyat or group will meet Sharma.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> A ‘Y+’ category of armed VIP security cover has been accorded by the Centre to Mukul Roy, a day after he joined the BJP after quitting Trinamool Congress.The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has been entrusted with the task of safeguarding the former railway minister under the UPA regime, official sources said.”A contingent of armed CRPF commandos will take charge of the new protectee in the next few days. Roy will have about three to four commandos with him, whenever he is in West Bengal,” a senior official said.He said a threat analysis report, prepared by central intelligence and security agencies, favoured granting of such a cover to Roy.The CRPF has a special VIP security wing and it secures around 70 dignitaries.Recently, the higher category of ‘Z’ cover of CRPF commandos was extended by the Centre to newly appointed special representative on Kashmir, Dineshwar Sharma.Roy, a founder member of the Trinamool Congress (TMC), was inducted into the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) yesterday.He had resigned from the Rajya Sabha and quit the TMC earlier this month.The former TMC ledaer was suspended from the party for six years for indulging in alleged anti-party activities after he announced that he would quit the party.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The recently appointed interlocutor for talks on Kashmir, Dineshwar Sharma, will get Z category security and will have CRPF commandos guarding him.Keeping in mind the sensitive nature of his work and threat perception the security cover will be for across the country, sources said.Z security is second highest level of protection and comes after Z plus.”Given his work profile, it was essential to provide the special representative a personal security cover. He will have about six to eight commandos with him at any given time,” a senior official said.A pilot and escort vehicle will secure his convoy.Sharma, a former Intelligence Bureau chief was recently appointed as special representative to initiate a peace process in conflict hit Kashmir.The CRPF has a special unit that provides armed VIP security to about 70 dignitaries at present.Sharma’s appointment is not time bound and he has also been given the freedom to choose who he wants to engage with for the process.
Updated: Oct 26, 2017, 09:36 PM IST, PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Two days after his appointment, Centre’s interlocutor on Jammu and Kashmir Dineshwar Sharma today held a meeting with Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, officials said.The meeting was held at Kashmir House on Prithviraj Road here, they said.Sharma, the former chief of Intelligence Bureau, was on Monday appointed special representative for a “sustained dialogue” with all stakeholders in Jammu and Kashmir, in a fresh move aimed at bringing peace to the troubled state.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Q: What is National Conference’s response to the appointment of Dineshwar Sharma as the interlocutor for Kashmir?A: As far as I’m concerned as the president of the party, it is good that an interlocutor has been appointed but I have a question for government of India. What about the earlier reports of the interlocutors which lie with the Centre. What has happened to those reports. Late Padgaonkar ji and three committees which were made and gave the reports, what happened to them? Why don’t they put them before the Parliament?Q: Why weren’t these reports implemented. You were part of the UPA?
ALSO READ Big challenge, will work with an open mind, says Kashmir interlocutor Dineshwar SharmaA: We did say and always asked as to why these reports aren’t being implemented. Now that government has gone and now you have a present government. Governments may go but things are there. Here is a government which says that they are working for the people and I would be delighted if they open those books and put them before the Parliament.Q: Do you feel that successive talks without implementation of the recommendations added fuel to the fire?
ALSO READ J&K peace talks: How the past interlocutors and groups failed to break any deadlock A: Absolutely. They spent two years in the state, visiting Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir and met every single person including Hurriyat and compiled the report. It is there in the Home Ministry. For God’s sake, bring it out. Q: Why did the government sat on the report?
ALSO READ Appointment of interlocutor will not impact army’s operation in Jammu and Kashmir: Bipin RawatA: I think, you should ask Manmohan Singh as to why anything wasn’t done. Q: Has the present government taken note of the reports ?A: I don’t know. Please put this question to home minister Rajnath Singh. He will be able to answer.Q: Is it mandatory to speak with Pakistan? Hurriyat has made an issue out of it.A: Frankly I don’t think that interlocutor can discuss with Pakistan. Discussion with Pakistan will have to be by government of India and at levels they chose to do so. Whether it is Home Minister or Prime Minister it is for them to decide. They have a part of Jammu and Kashmir with them and it cannot be ignored. Q: Does the appointment show that muscular approach doesn’t work with people?A: Absolutely. Doval’s doctrine has failed. His doctrine was to beat them to the ground and do everything you can to suppress them. Every theory has failed. They thought that with demonetization, militancy would disappear, it is at the highest level today. What have they achieved? Nothing. Our tourism has died. It is at zero. Nobody bothered.Q: What would you like the interlocutor to do?A: I don’t know who is he going to engage with. Home Minister tried to engage with every national party except the Hurriyat. No Home Minister didn’t talk to Hurriyat. I don’t know what a retired civil servant would be able to achieve. Q: Wouldn’t it provide a buffer to mainstream parties like yours? Workers of mainstream parties have been attacked by terrorists?A: We have had this happen from 1989. Our workers and leaders have been targeted. No one cared about it. We will face the brunt but we will not disappear. We will be here. Q: What has been the cause of the present unrest where civil institutions are failing to function normally?A: One is the government of BJP and PDP. It has been the greatest misery that have been inflicted on the people of this state. it really put petrol on the fire and our neighbour utilised it to the best as it could.Q: Are you saying that BJP-PDP is an unnatural alliance?A; I’m not the only person who has said this. Ask anyone on the street and they will tell you.Q: BJP has said that this is not the first-time unrest has taken place. Worse unrest have taken place in past. A: They failed in everything so where does the blame lie? Q: Present Army Chief has spoken about the success of Army’s approach in the valley. A: I think Army chief should restrict himself to the matters of the Army. He should look after the borders of India rather than talking about other things. It doesn’t augur well for him. Q: Has politics of nationalism vs anti nationalism affected the political discourse in valley?A: Who are anti nationals? If people ask for their rights, do they become anti nationals? If they want to speak truth, do they become anti national? We gave the autonomy resolution to Vajpayee, was that anti national? It is in the Constitution of India. I don’t understand what is meant by anti national. If they want to smash the pride of the people then they are not going to succeed.Q: Kashmir too at one end has not been accommodative. Pandits have not been able to return.A: Who is responsible for Pandits not going back? All mainstream parties and Hurriyat welcomed them. We asked them to come back. There are Pandits living in the Valley. They didn’t migrate. It is for the others and make a move and come home. It is as much as their home as it is my home. They must make move.Q: Is 35 A an issue in Kashmir?A: If it wasn’t a big issue, even PDP wouldn’t have been shouting against it. It is a major issue in the valley. Q: Have you spoken about this issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi?A: Many people have asked and I would say that I have spoken to him and if the situation arise I would speak to him again. I have no problem in speaking to the Prime Minister Modi.Q: Where does the solution lie?A: Heal the wounds of the people and not by force and arrests that are being done and talk to Pakistan. Talk to them or else it will continue to happen. Only talking to Delhi will not make slightest difference. I remember Vajpaye’s words. Friends can be changed but not neighbours. We either live in harmony with neighbour and both progress or live in animosity and both suffer. These are the golden words. There is always an opportunity for finding a peaceful solution and I think PM has the courage to do so and if he takes that step he can make a difference but only to India and to the sub continent and world peace.Q: Does Kashmir miss Vajpayee? Do you miss Vajpayee?A: We all miss Vajpayee. India misses him. He is still alive. He is a great leader.Q: So where is the hope for peace?A: I just hope that government of India takes the step to bring peace to the valley. They say that hope lies life and if one loses hope one would lose life. I hope for peace and prosperity not only for Kashmir but for the whole country. Q: Arrests by NIA also show that Pakistan is funding separatism and terror network?A: Nobody will mind if those arrests prove that money came from Pakistan and they used it. But the longer you hold them in prison and hold them longer and longer then people wouldn’t believe you and would feel that they are being pushed for saying things. They feel that there is nothing in it.Q: Are you saying that investigations must conclude quickly?A: Yes, it must and quicker and better. It must be fast paced. It should be revealed to the people of India.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Pakistan on Tuesday dismissed as unrealistic India’s move to appoint an interlocutor to understand the legitimate aspirations of people in Jammu and Kashmir, saying no interaction or dialogue would carry any weight without the participation of the Hurriyat Conference.India yesterday appointed former Intelligence Bureau chief Dineshwar Sharma as its special representative for a “sustained dialogue” with all stakeholders in Jammu and Kashmir, in a fresh move aimed at bringing peace to the troubled state. Responding to a question on Sharma’s appointment, Pakistan Foreign Office Spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said that the measure did not appear to be sincere and realistic. He said that, if anything, the Indian Government s announcement illustrated a recognition — once again — of the futility of the use of force and of the indispensability of dialogue.”However, for any dialogue process to be meaningful and result-oriented, it has to include the three main parties India, Pakistan, and the Kashmiris. In that context, without the participation of the Hurriyat leadership, no interaction or dialogue would carry any weight or meaning,” he said. The spokesperson said that the designated interlocutor had been entrusted with the task of understanding the “legitimate aspirations” of the Kashmiri people.He said that the need of the hour was to have dialogue for peacefully resolving the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the UN Security Council Resolutions and the wishes of the Kashmiri people.”This was imperative for ensuring durable and sustainable peace and stability in South Asia. Pakistan hoped that the international community would play its rightful role in facilitating such an outcome,” he said.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At a time when Centre has appointed former Intelligence Bureau Chief Dineshwar Sharma as an interlocutor to carry out sustained dialogue on Kashmir issue, Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) has called for a shutdown in Kashmir on October 27. Although the call for the shutdown doesn’t appear to have been influenced by Centre’s decision to start dialogue process in Kashmir, ‘Kashmir shutdown’ call highlights the tough task ahead for Dineshwar Sharma. There have been reports which suggest that government is not averse to holding talks with Hurriyat and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has empowered Dineshwar Sharma to chart out the plan for the dialogue process. Rajnath Singh on Tuesday said Dineshwar Sharma, would decide whom he engages with for the peace talks in Kashmir.Asked if Sharma would hold talks with the Hurriyat Conference, as suggested by some state politicians, Singh said, “It depends upon him whom he talks to or engages with him.”According to a report in Greater Kashmir, Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) has called for a shutdown on October 27, saying “it is an unfortunate day for the Kashmiris when we were deprived of our freedom and liberty”. Calling it as “black day and the day of mourning” for the Kashmiris, JRL comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik called for complete shutdown on the day.“71 years back India without any constitutional and moral justifications forcibly occupied the state of Jammu & Kashmir on the same day and since then Indian forces are mercilessly killing innocent and unarmed Kashmiris, vandalizing their properties and are involved in sexual assault on women,” said the JRL, in a statement, issued in Srinagar on Tuesday, reports Greater Kashmir.According to a report in Times Now, Hurriyat Conference on Tuesday rejected the peace talk offer and declared that there can be no talks until Pakistan is made a part of the dialogue. Its senior leader Moulvi Abbas Ansari said that they want a tripartite arrangement where Pakistan is included.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Centre on Monday, in a surprise move, appointed an interlocutor for talks in Jammu and Kashmir. Ex- IB Chief Dineshwar Sharma who has experience of working in the Valley has been roped in as the special representative with Cabinet rank with an agenda of ‘sustained dialogue’ with all stakeholders with ‘legitimate aspirations’. Rajnath Singh while announcing mentioned PM’s Independence Day statement which said problems in the state could be solved “neither by bullet, nor by abuses but by embracing the people”. He said this showed government’s intention towards solving the Kashmir problem. Union Home Minister expressed hope that Dineshwar Sharma can make a way forward to solve the Kashmir puzzle and said that failures of the past shouldn’t affect the present. Rajnath Singh also said that being apolitical is the greatest strength of Sharma, and he can assess the ground situation properly.
ALSO READ Peace is top priority: Dineshwar Sharma on being appointed govt’s special representative on KashmirDineshwar Sharma has worked as assistant director of IB in Kashmir from 1992-94 and was later head of the Kashmir desk in the capital. It remains to be seen the contours of talks Sharma undertakes. But here is a look at what has happened in similar such efforts in the past. From 2000, this is the fourth interlocutor appointed by Centre. The first one was done by Vajpayee government when former Union Minister KC Pant was appointed. The second effort was when NN Vohra was entrusted with the job (who is incidentally the Governor of the state currently) and the third one was done in 2010 by UPA government when a three-member committee of Dileep Padgaonkar, Radha Kumar, and MM Ansari went to Kashmir as interlocutor.
ALSO READ Sustained dialogue on Kashmir: All you need to know about Former IB Director Dineshwar SharmaIn the case of KC Pant, he failed to achieve much as none of the separatists except Shabir Shah talked to him. The Hurriyat Conference played spoilsport with its demand for getting Pakistan also part of the talks. A united Hurriyat at that time was steadfast even before the start of talks that Pant had no real agenda. Pant on his part decided to snub APHC saying it is not a major player in the Valley.However, the fact remained that Vajpayee government did believe Hurriyat was a significant stakeholder in Kashmir. In 2002, the Kashmir committee was formed to reach out to all stakeholders in the Valley. Led by Ram Jethmalani, it comprised of the likes of Ashok Bhan, Shanti Bhushan, Dileep Padgaonkar, VK Grover, MJ Akbar. As an informal committee, it managed to meet the separatists but didn’t result in any tangible results. Some reports suggest, Jethmalani claimed that he managed a deal with Hurriyat, but it was scuttled by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.
ALSO READ J&K peace talks: Interlocutor appointed as Centre’s policy failed, says Cong; Don’t politicise issue, says BJPIn 2003, the Indian government appointed NN Vohra as their new point person in the valley. It was pretty much the repetition of the old story. However, Vohra managed to get the moderates of the Hurriyat for talks with LK Advani which weren’t really fruitful. The UPA1 started with an earnest effort to break the imbroglio. Manmohan Singh in 2006 set up five working groups on Kashmir after a couple of roundtable meets in 2005. Interestingly Hurriyat stayed off the meetings, even though it initially decided to attend. The five working groups on strengthening relations across the Line of Control, confidence-building measures across segments of society in the state including detainees, economic development, ensuring good governance and centre-state relations submitted their report but their recommendations were not acted upon. Incidentally, Mehbooba Mufti in July 2016 in an all-party meeting at the height of unrest in Kashmir referred to the five committees and backed the Manmohan formula saying, “A beginning can be made by implementing the recommendations of the five working groups constituted by the then prime minister”. UPA government’s next step of very public outreach in Jammu and Kashmir was the interlocutor committee formed in October 2010. It was formed in October 2010, post massive violence in the valley. The committee headed by Padgaonkar suggested in their final report in 2012 among other steps review of AFSPA, talks with Hurriyat and setting up of the constitutional committee. Neither the UPA or the NDA government bothered to discuss the report on the floor of the house and the recommendations, as usual, got a cold shoulder. At that time, the Union government said, ” .“The government has not yet taken any decisions on the report. The government will welcome an informed debate on the contents of the report”. It also advocated for permanent status to controversial Article 370, which guarantees special status to Jammu and Kashmir. In 2016, when Kashmir again witnessed a cesspool of violence, Dileep Padgaonkar was quoted saying violence could have been prevented if their recommendations were accepted. Incidentally, the separatists stayed away from talks with the panel also. Analysing the reason behind it, Radha Kumar said that they wanted to talk with political authorities and hence gave them the cold shoulder. So a brief history of the talks in the past shows either they were marred with non-inclusion of all major stakeholders or in some cases like the working groups, lack of follow-up of a good initiative. The recommendations at the time were not politically suitable for the government of the day to ensure a proper follow-up. Between an ideal solution and realpolitik, somehow solution eluded Kashmir. The Centre has turned a new chapter in the Kashmir talks by appointing a new interlocutor. This comes after a hard stance cracking down on armed militants post the unrest which started after Burhan Wani’s death. The centre also repeatedly said that no talks will be held with separatists. Now with Dineshwar Sharma in the mix, that equation is likely to change.Will the carrot work now, that the stick has done its part? Will the Hurriyat and other stakeholders come to the table? The questions are many, with no proper answer at this point in time. But Dineshwar Sharma will do well to look back at the past failures to get a recipe to save Kashmir’s future. With PTI inputs
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress on Monday claimed the Centre had “miserably failed” in Kashmir and said the government had lost precious time and life before admitting that a “muscular approach” would not work in the Valley.The party said by appointing an interlocutor for Kashmir, the government had agreed to the Opposition’s demand for talks with all stakeholders to bring peace to the Valley.While former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said the government had realised the Opposition was right in calling for talks in Kashmir, former Union Home Minister P Chidambaram said the appointment of the interlocutor — announced by the government today — was a major victory for those who strongly argued for a political solution.”From ‘No talks’ to ‘Talks with all stakeholders’ is a major victory for those who had strongly argued for a political solution in J&K,” Chidambaram tweeted.In another Tweet, he said, “With appointment of interlocutor, I hope government has finally admitted ‘muscular approach’ has failed in J&K”.Azad asked why the government had wasted three-and-a- half-years and lost many precious lives before doing something that the Opposition had been demanding all along.”After having failed miserably” in Kashmir, the government had finally admitted its “blunder”, he said.”We had been demanding from day one that they should talk to all stakeholders and they opposed this demand. After having wasted full three-and-a-half-years and so much loss of life on both sides, they have come to this conclusion,” he said, describing the government’s think tank as “zero”.The Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha told reporters the Congress and the Opposition had been saying that demonetisation and GST were “wrong” decisions and now the government was making changes.”Whatever the Opposition has been saying on Kashmir, GST and on demonetisation is being proved 100 per cent true and this shows the total failure of the Union government and the total non-application of its mind on various national and international issues,” Azad said.Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said the appointment of a representative to initiate a dialogue with all stakeholders in Jammu and Kashmir indicated that “realists” in the government had prevailed over the “hawks”.”Appointment of an interlocutor in J&K is indicative that realists in government have prevailed over the hawks. Hard Power is not an end but means towards an end,” Tewari said on Twitter.The Centre announced sustained dialogues with all stakeholders in the Valley and appointed former Intelligence Bureau director Dineshwar Sharma as its special representative for the talks.The CPI said it had to be seen how the government’s new move would work.”The government has taken a U-turn. The Centre’s Kashmir policy has been unsuccessful till now,” party leader D Raja said.He added an all-party delegation had suggested that the dialogue process start with all sections.”The government did not do it then. Good sense has prevailed. We have to see how it will work now,” he said.Meanwhile, Union minister Jitendra Singh said that opposition parties should not politicise the Kashmir issue and extend cooperation instead.”The dialogue process was always continuing (in J&K). But now attempts have been made to institutionalise the process by appointing a senior officer for a sustained dialogue with all stakeholders in all three regions — Jammu, Ladakh and Kashmir — and the rest of India,” the minister of state in the Prime Minister’s Office.Earlier in the day, Home Minister Rajanath Singh had said former director of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) Dineshwar Sharma would be the central government’s representative to initiate dialogue with all stakeholders in the state.”It is a welcome step forward in the process which is already going on under the Modi government,” said Jitendra Singh, who represents Udhampur constituency of the state in the Lok Sabha.Referring to certain concerns and objections raised by opposition parties to the Centre’s efforts to stabilise Jammu and Kashmir, he said some disgruntled politicians who are down and out are maybe trying to get their pound of flesh but the people of Kashmir, particularly youths are now keen to move ahead as part of the development journey of India led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Jitendra Singh hoped that opposition parties and their leaders will also come forward to cooperate and not politicise the issue, which could harm Kashmir.To that extent, the announcement is also meant to provide adequate opportunity to the youth of Kashmir to reap the benefits of enormous avenues made available to the rest of country by the Modi government, he said.”Those who are trying to misguide the youth would try to recall that even this year over 30 boys and girls form militancy-ridden districts of Kashmir paved their way to Indian Institutes of Technology and National Institutes of Technology which is reflective of the Kahsmiri youths’ aspiration of being part of growth of new India,” the minister said.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Centre has decided to start a sustained dialogue in Jammu and Kashmir and this outreach programme will be led by former Intelligence Bureau director Dineshwar Sharma. “Dineshwar Sharma will initiate dialogue with elected representatives of Jammu and Kashmir, political parties, different organisations and people, ” said Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh during a press conference on Monday. Dineshwar Sharma will be government’s representative and take the decision on his future interaction with concerned parties. Dineshwar Sharma rank will be equivalent to that of a Cabinet Secretary. The initiative has been taken as per Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day address, the home minister said.Rajnath Singh mentioned that the outreach process will begin soon and the special focus would be the youth of Kashmir. “The government representative, Dineshwar Sharma, will have all the rights to engage whatever parties he wishes to,” said the Home Minister. He said that the government is going to engage all political parties and stakeholders to ensure that peace is restored in the valley. “The government is going to address the legitimate apprehensions of the state populace and try to restore peace in the valley,” claimed Singh. Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah has tweeted his apprehensions on the steps taken by the Centre.The “legitimate aspirations” of people of J&K is an interesting formulation. Who gets to decide what is legitimate?But he has expressed that he will keep an open mind and wait for the results of the dialogue process.Dineshwar Sharma, a 1979-batch (retired) officer of the Indian Police Service, served as the IB director between December, 2014 and 2016.