Home Minister Rajnath Singh announced on 23 October that the government has decided to start a “sustained dialogue” in Jammu and Kashmir.
He said that former Intelligence Bureau Director Dineshwar Sharma will be government of India's representative.
The home minister added that Sharma will be “free to interact with all sections of society, especially youth & understand their aspirations”.
Singh added that Sharma’s rank is equivalent to that of cabinet secretary.
Dineshwar Sharma will initiate dialogue with elected representatives of Jammu and Kashmir, political parties, different organisations and people.Rajnath Singh
He added that Sharma will “initiate sustained interaction and dialogue to understand legitimate aspirations of people in J&K”.
Following Rajnath Singh’s announcement, Dineshwar Sharma said that restoring peace in J&K and finding a permanent solution was his priority.
Priority is restoring peace and finding a permanent solution. Will go to Kashmir in 8-10 days, first would assess here, how things can be taken forward.Dineshwar Sharma, GoI’s interlocutor for J&K
He added that the rank given to him “does not matter”.
GoI gave me a very big responsibility, nothing can be better than improvement of situation in J&K.Dineshwar Sharma
PDP Welcomes Centre’s Move
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti welcomed the move by the Centre to start a sustained dialogue with the stakeholders.
In a tweet, Mehbooba Mufti said:
She added that “dialogue is a necessity of the hour and the only way to go forward”. The chief minister also said that the initiative is in line with PM Narendra Modi’s Independence Day speech where he said that the Kashmir issue will be solved only by “embracing Kashmiris and not by bullets or abuses”.
Will Keep Open Mind: Omar Abdullah
Former chief minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah reacting to Centre’s move to start dialogue said that he will “keep an open mind and wait to see the results of the dialogue process”. He, however, asked who gets to decide what are the “legitimate aspirations” of the people of J&K.
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.Omar Abdullah on Twitter
Abdullah questioned how this would impact the NIA investigation in the state.
Former J&K chief minister Farooq Abdullah said he was “glad that the Centre has accepted Kashmir as a political problem”.
Glad that the Centre has accepted Kashmir as a political problem. This is a major U-turn by the Modi government and a very promising step.Farooq Abdullah to News18
Major Victory for Proponents of Political Solution: Chidambaram
Former home minister and Congress leader P Chidambaram labelled the Centre’s move a “major victory” for those who argued for a political solution to Kashmir issue.
He added that with the appointment, the government “admitted” that “muscular approach has failed” in the state.
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