Dialogue is open to all: Mehbooba Mufti

Home Minister Rajnath Singh Dineshwar Sharma will initiate the sustained dialogue to understand legitimate aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir

GoI to start J&K dialogue, ex-IB chief Dineshwar Sharma to represent centre: Rajnath

The clock has turned full circle for former IB chief Dineshwar Sharma, who was appointed the government of India's special representative in Kashmir today, 25 years after his first posting for the bureau in the Valley.

Addressing a press conference, Singh said Sharma would lead a "sustained dialogue" with all stakeholders in Jammu and Kashmir.

Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said the appointment of a representative to initiate a dialogue with all stakeholders in Jammu and Kashmir indicated that "realists" in the government had prevailed over the "hawks". "We are doing this", Rajnath Singh said and recalled the Prime Minister's August 15 speech saying "neither by bullet, nor by abuses but by embracing the people we can solve the problems in Jammu and Kashmir". "Rank of Dineshwar Sharma will be equivalent to that of a Cabinet Secretary", Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh told the media.

"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.

Asked whether the interlocutor should also talk to separatists, she said, "Home Minister did not talk of any group".

The Congress on Monday claimed the Centre had "miserably failed" in Kashmir and said the government had lost precious time and life before admitting that a "muscular approach" would not work in the Valley.

He said the interlocutor should hold dialogue with all stakeholders including the separatists.

Singh said the decision of the special representative has been taken after holding a "series of meetings" with various political parties. "Our announcement shows how serious we are about initiating dialogue".

Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti welcomed the move saying "dialogue is a necessity of the hour and the only way to go forward".

The home minister referred to the prime ministers last Independence Day address in which he had said that problems of J&K can not be solved by bullets or abuses but by embracing the people of the state. Reacting to the announcement, former J&K CM Omar Abdullah tweeted: "The acceptance of the political nature of the Kashmir issue is a resounding defeat of those who could only see use of force as a solution".

One can't get everything. "Who gets to decide what is legitimate?" he tweeted.

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