Rajnath announces sustained dialogue on Kashmir

New Delhi: After much speculation and statements over resolving the vexed Kashmir issue, the Union government finally announced a former intelligence official as an interlocutor on Kashmir.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that the Centre has decided to start a sustained dialogue in Jammu and Kashmir. He disclosed that former Intelligence Bureau (IB) director Dineshwar Sharma will be the representative from the Government of India.

“The government has decided to start a sustained dialogue in Jammu and Kashmir. Former IB director Dineshwar Sharma will be Government of India’s representative. Rank of Dineshwar Sharma will be equivalent to that of a Cabinet Secretary,” the Home Minister said while addressing a press conference here.

He added that Sharma will initiate the dialogue with the elected representatives of Jammu and Kashmir, political parties, different organisations and public.

“From the ramparts of Red Fort Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said, ‘Neither by bullet, nor by abuses but by embracing the people we can solve the problems in Jammu and Kashmir’,” Singh added.

“The Prime Minister’s statement had clearly underlined our government’s policy and intention towards Jammu and Kashmir,” he said, adding that Centre’s representative will engage with all walks of life in the state and understand their legitimate aspirations.”

The Home Minister said that as the government’s representative, Sharma will initiate the sustained interaction and dialogue to understand legitimate aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

Referring to the unrest in Jammu and Kashmir, Singh said that Prime Minister Modi is determined to bring back peace to the Valley.

Sharma was the Centre’s internal intelligence boss as director of the IB between December 2014 and 2016. He is known to keep a low profile.

Sharma has also been the director and handled issues like the 2015 Gurdaspur attack, aftermath of the encounter of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in Kashmir, Uri attack in 2016 and rise of ISIS recruitment in Kerala.

This is not the first time Sharma is serving as an interlocutor. He has earlier served as the mediator for talks with various insurgent groups based in Assam.

He also has experience in Kashmir. He has served as DIG of the Border Security Force (BSF) and as the IG of CRPF in charge of Jammu and Kashmir.

Meanwhile, later in the evening Dineshwar Sharma met Rajnath Singh after being appointed the government’s interlocutor for Kashmir. Sharma, according to reports had a one to one meeting with Rajnath Singh and various issues regarding the situation in Kashmir were discussed during the meet.

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