The Centre has given “full freedom” to its Jammu and Kashmir interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma to decide stakeholders for talks to resolve the protracted crisis in the valley, Union home minister Rajnath Singh said Thursday.
“Whatever he does or doesn’t is to be decided solely by Dineshwar Sharma,” the home minister told India Today when asked whether any talk was possible with the Hurriyat leaders.
“It’s entirely up to the government representative to decide whom the talks should be held with. He has been given no specific brief. He has all the freedom to decide who he wants to talk with.” Sharma, a former director of the IB, was appointed the central interlocutor late last month for a sustained dialogue with stakeholders in J&K in a bid to restore peace in the state.
The move to appoint Sharma as a central interlocutor was driven by the government’s intent to explore ways and means to resolve any possible “grievances” in the valley, Singh insisted.
“I believe that no problem can solely be resolved through force, whether police or military. People’s grievances should also be examined. If there is any grievance that could be resolved, we will try to resolve them. That’s why, we have appointed an interlocutor,” he said.
“The interlocutor will go there, talk to people and give us his report.”
Singh disagreed with the Hurriyat accusations that Sharma’s appointment was an eyewash, saying the unrest in the valley warranted a deeper analysis for a possible resolution.
“The truth is if there are any problems, they should be resolved. What are the reasons that lead to such situations? That’s why we have appointed an interlocutor of the government of India to go into the depth.”
Asked if he had already identified issues in Jammu and Kashmir, Singh noted that the Centre was willing to examine any problems that could be amicably addressed.
“If there is any grievance that could resolved, they should be resolved if it lies in the interest of the people of J&K and in the interest of the state.”
The Centre’s decision to name Sharma as the new interlocutor came after local delegations in J&K suggested to the home minister during his latest tour to the valley that a special representative be appointed for talks, Singh said.
“It’s only after that the government decided to appoint a representative and Dineshwar Sharma was chosen (for the job).” The home minister, however, clarified that the process for starting negotiations wasn’t timebound.
“This all depends on how long does it take for talks (to start). We have set no timeframe for this. The sooner talks could start, the better it would be.”
Asked about Pakistan’s repeated attempts to interfere in Kashmir, he said, “It’s not that we depend on Pakistan to establish peace here.
Pakistan is a neighbouring country. It should not interfere in India’s internal matters. Jammu and Kashmir was, is and will remain integral part of India.”