Srinagar: Leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said on Thursday that the Government of India has not appointed any “interlocutor” to hold “dialogue” in Kashmir, but rather a representative to have “conversation” with people of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Modi-led BJP government in Delhi said on Monday it was appointing Dineshwar Sharma, former Director of Intelligence Bureau (IB), to “start a process of sustained dialogue in Kashmir”.
“It has been repeatedly said that the government has appointed an interlocutor to hold dialogue in Jammu and Kashmir,” BJP state general secretary Ashok Kaul told Kashmir Reader. “We want to make it clear: the media and the people are wrongly terming him as an interlocutor. He is not. There is no need for dialogue in Kashmir. We have no idea what people mean by ‘dialogue’. The person who has been appointed to look at Jammu and Kashmir will hold conversation with the people of Jammu and Kashmir – with those people who met Home Minister Rajnath Singh. He will sustain that conversation, so as to continue with the mission of development and progress in the state.”
“We have been told by the minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Jitendra Singh, that Sharma is not an interlocutor,” Kaul said. “He will continue to have interactions and conversations with religious, political, and cultural groups. Around 300 delegations met the home minister (when he visited Jammu and Kashmir). Sharma will look after concerns of youth, education, employment, development and progress in the state.”
Kaul said that Sharma will hold dialogue with only those who consider Kashmir as an integral part of India. “If somebody has to talk, he can contact Sharma ji,” Kaul said. “If Hurriyat accepts the Constitution of India, they can come and hold talks with the centre’s point-man.”
Asked who the purported “stakeholders” in Kashmir were, Kaul said, “From a child of nine to a man of ninety, they are all stakeholders in Kashmir.”
When Home Minister Rajnath Singh was asked if Sharma would hold talks with the Hurriyat Conference, Singh had said, “It depends upon him.”
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has welcomed the appointment of Sharma as “interlocutor” and has urged “stakeholders” to come forward for talks.
Minister of State (Mos) in the Prime Minister’s Office, Jitendra Singh, said that Dineshwar Sharma was not an “interlocutor” but a “special representative”.
“Some people say we have made a U-turn by initiating dialogue. He is not an interlocutor; his appointment is to carry forward the process set into motion by Rajnath Singh, so that nobody can say tomorrow that dialogue is not happening,” he said.
Jitendra Singh said this while addressing a function to mark ‘Vilay Diwas’ (Integration Day), the day the Instrument of Accession to India was signed by Jammu and Kashmir’s last Dogra ruler, Maharaja Hari Singh.
“The operations against terrorists will continue as before,” Singh said in his address.
Singh also hit out at pro-freedom leaders, claiming that their “so-called freedom struggle” is a “manufactured” one.
“The people of Kashmir have started understanding this… they have started understanding that they are being deceived for the last three generations,” he said.
The minister also said that history had not done justice to Maharaja Hari Singh. “The injustice with the Maharaja started the day Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru decided to deal with Jammu and Kashmir on his own, and sidelined Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. I am of the opinion that if Nehru had given him the freedom to tackle Jammu and Kashmir, like he did with other kingdoms, the history of the state would have been different,” Jitendra Singh said