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1:12 am - Monday November 20, 2017

Govt appoints ex-IB director as interlocutor

Agencies, New Delhi

Former Director of the Intelligence Bureau, Dineshwar Sharma, will be the representative of the Centre to hold talks with stakeholders in Jammu and Kashmir, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh announced on Monday.

Addressing a news conference here, the Interior Minister said,’’the Government has decided that a sustained dialogue will be held with stakeholders in J&K.’’ Mr Sharma will hold a dialogue with the elected representatives, various organisations and individuals concerned in the state, which in 1947, acceded to the Union of India.

A 1976-batch Kerala cadre IPS officer, Mr Sharma, who retired as director of the IB on December 31, 2016, will have the rank of a Cabinet Secretary. ‘’Mr Sharma will initiate a sustained interaction and dialogue to understand the legitimate aspirations of the wide cross sections of society, particularly the youth in J and K and communicate them to the State Government and the Centre,’’Mr Rajnath Singh said. On whether Mr Sharma will also hold talks with separatists, Mr Rajnath Singh said the interlocutor will be free to decide whom to interact with.

The initiation of the dialogue process with stakeholders was in line with the announcement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi that a solution to the Jammu and Kashmir problem could be achieved only through embracing the people of the state and neither ‘goli, na gali.’

In his address to the nation from the ramparts of the iconic Red Fort on Independence Day, Mr Narendra Modi had declared that,’’Neither by bullet, nor by abuses but by embracing the people, can we solve the problem of Kashmir,’’ Mr Rajnath Singh recounted.

In response to a question, Mr Rajnath Singh said that after holding dialogue with various stakeholders, Mr Sharma will inform the state government of his interactions. He, however, added that no time frame has been fixed for the submission of the report .

Mr Rajnath Singh said the Government was starting the process of dialogue with a clear mind and Prime Minister Modi was determined to restore normalcy in the Valley. ‘’The government is going to address the legitimate apprehensions of the state populace and try to restore peace in the Valley.

During the dialogue process, we will try to understand how to fulfill the aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir,’’Mr Singh said. The move comes in the wake of various steps taken by Mr Narendra Modi to address the needs of the people of J&K. During his visit to Srinagar on November 7, 2015, the Prime Minister had announced a package of Rs 80,068 crores for the overall development of J&K. He has also met the leaders of political parties from time to time and received suggestions with regard to the issue of peace and development in the state.

Mr Rajnath Singh had, earlier, led an all-party delegation to the Kashmir Valley, especially after a long spell of violence, that followed the killing of Hizbul ‘commander’ Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces. The Home Minister had held consultations with a large number of delegations from wide spectrum of the society. Mr Dineshwar Sharma is a retired IPS officer from the 1979 batch of Kerala cadre.

During his distinguished career, he has served in J&K, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Nagaland and Manipur and as Additional Director and Special Director in the Intelligence Bureau at the headquarters. Mr Sharma has in-depth understanding of security related matters and considerable knowledge and experience of issues pertaining to Jammu and Kashmir.

The previous United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre had also formed a group of three interlocutors in 2010 to hold a sustained dialogue with all sections of the people in J&K. They were noted journalist Dilip Padgaonkar, Prof MM Ansari, Information Commissioner and Prof (Mrs) Radha Kumar, trustee of Delhi Policy Group.

Posted in: Featured, Nation

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