Srinagar: Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Monday welcomed the appointment by Indian government of an interlocutor for “sustained dialogue” on Kashmir, terming the initiative as “the need of the hour.” She said that there is “no condition” on the dialogue process and “stakeholders” should take benefit of this opportunity.
“We feel this initiative is part of the Prime Minister’s August 15 speech in which he said that Kashmir problem cannot be solved by abuses and bullets but only by embracing Kashmiris. This is part of the process to win the hearts of the people of J&K, part of the healing-touch policy,” she said at a press conference held at her office in the civil secretariat.
Without naming Hurriyat, she said, “There is no bar, no conditions, on both sides. Doors are open for talks. We hope stakeholders will also take benefit of the opportunity and they will contribute to this dialogue process, so that Jammu Kashmir comes out from violence.”
Stating that dialogues have yielded good results in the past, she said, “Security measures have been taken in the past and continue today as well, but the political process is necessary.”
Former Intelligence Bureau Director Dineshwar Sharma has been appointed as the Government of India’s representative to initiate dialogue in J&K.
Mehbooba described Sharma as a man “with huge credibility”, who has “been involved in other dialogue processes and has worked well in the north-east.”
“I am happy that ultimately something has started, and we are hopeful that this will act as a confidence-building measure in the present situation,” she said.
Responding to a question about previous dialogue processes that had not yielded much, she said that the “stakeholders” need to understand the “present situation”.
“The people are fed up,” she said. “I am sure that the stakeholders will understand that the Government of India has taken the first step. If they (GoI) have taken one step, we and other stakeholders should also step forward.”
When asked if the Hurriyat will be invited for talks, she said, “The home minister has authorised the interlocutor to talk with everyone.”
Asked about the National Investigation Agency (NIA) which has arrested seven top Hurriyat leaders, she said, “The NIA is a different thing. It is a security agency and the political process is different.”
“The prevailing condition of the people of Jammu and Kashmir should impress upon the stakeholders that people are caught between many guns at this point of time and they want to come out of this,” she said. “This initiative will be a success, God willing.”