Interlocutors have helped engage Kashmiris

Like his predecessors, Dineshwar Sharma would also keep Kashmir’s civil society engaged in thinking and talking about the peace process

aasha

Aasha Khosa | November 7, 2017 | New Delhi


#Dineshwar Sharma   #Hurriyat conference   #peace process   #interlocutors   #Kashmir   #Mehbooba Mufti  
Dineshwar Sharma (left) with union home minister Rajnath Singh, after being appointed as the Representative of Government of India to initiate dialogue in Jammu and Kashmir
Dineshwar Sharma (left) with union home minister Rajnath Singh, after being appointed as the Representative of Government of India to initiate dialogue in Jammu and Kashmir

 Hoping that former bureaucrat and Kashmir hand Dineshwar Sharma would be able to bring peace to Kashmir is certainly a tall order. However, like all the interlocutors in the past, he too would keep sections of Kashmiri society engaged in thinking and talking about peace and reconciliation and generate an environment that the leaders can possibly build upon.

Sharma has apparently been handpicked for his good rapport with locals while heading the intelligence bureau (IB) in Kashmir during the years of volatility. As the former head of IB, A S Dullat, revealed in his book, the Hurriyat leaders had been on the payrolls of the intelligence agency and therefore the bigwig out there would obviously have a good reach to them.
 
Though the Hurriyat Conference leaders have publically declared they would not talk to Sharma, who is currently in Srinagar on his maiden visit as interlocutor, there is a possibility of the separatist leaders getting in touch with him either through their proxies or by simply calling him on phone. Such tactics have been used in the past too.
 
One of the main tasks of Sharma is to find out the mood in the second rung of separatist leaders and find out if they are ready to break the ranks and come forward to hold meaningful negotiations with the government.
 
Interestingly, the opposition parties - Congress and National Conference - and even lone wolf like MLA Engineer Rashid, who is facing a probe by the National Investigating Agency into terror fund trail in Kashmir, have dismissed Sharma as a lightweight to be talked to. So, who will Sharma speak to in Kashmir?
 
Going by the experience of the past government-appointed interlocutors – K C Pant,  N N Vohra and the interlocutors’ committee comprising former journalist Dileep Padgaonkar, academic Radha Kumar and retired bureaucrat M M Ansari, Sharma too would talk and talk to traders, tourism operators, transporters, hoteliers who are worst victims of violence. On the political level, leaders would send their deputies to speak to him, for Sharma does not match their stature. All of them would on the record insist the government should talk to Hurriyat Conference leaders.
Sharma would also visit the relatively peaceful regions of Jammu and Ladakh and speak to the representatives of the displaced Kashmiri Hindus to widen the base of conflict resolution. This would also help in not limiting any conflict resolution to the aspirations of a section of vocal Kashmiri Muslims.
 
Sources in the home ministry have indicated that the center is not too keen to talk to Hurriyat leaders and would continue investigations against them. This is against the wishes of BJP- supported chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, who has wished the probe against the Hurriyat leaders would be suspended for a meaningful dialogue.
 

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