Rajnath: Former IB chief Dineshwar Sharma to be J&K interlocutor
To address strife-torn J&K's problems, Union HM Rajnath Singh announced that former Intelligence Bureau (IB) director Dineshwar Sharma will initiate dialogue in the insurgency-hit state. He said Sharma "will initiate a sustained interaction and dialogue to understand legitimate aspirations" of J&K's people. Sharma will hold the position of a cabinet secretary. Regarding talks with separatists, Rajnath said Sharma has autonomy to decide. Know more!
Who is Dineshwar Sharma?
Dineshwar Sharma, a 1976-batch Kerala IPS officer, is known to keep a low profile. He was IB chief when strong links between ISIS recruiters and Kerala first came to light and Kashmir was experiencing unrest after Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani's encounter. During his tenure, the government reached a settlement with Nagaland insurgency group National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM). He retired in 2016.
Sharma is known for unique solutions to problems
As IB chief, instead of arresting youth being wooed by ISIS, Sharma observed their online activities and engaged community and religious leaders to get them back into mainstream society. This strategy is said to have prevented the spread of ISIS popularization in India. Due to his ability to find out-of-the-box solutions, Sharma was also made in-charge of peace talks with Assam's insurgent groups.
How did political leaders react?
Kashmir CM Mehbooba Mufti "welcomed" the dialogue saying "it is in line with PM's speech that 'neither by bullet, nor by abuses but by embracing the people we can solve the problems in J&K'." Former J&K CM Omar Abdullah said 'accepting the political nature of the Kashmir issue is a resounding defeat of those who could only see use of force as a solution'.
BJP government has been making efforts on Kashmir front
Following Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani's encounter, the Valley had been on a boil witnessing a long spell of violence. HM Rajnath Singh had then led an all-party delegation to address the issues faced by people in J&K. He also instituted a committee to look at alternatives to pellet guns which led to less lethal plastic bullets being deployed to paramilitary forces.
UPA government had also appointed a 3-member interlocutor team
Following 120 people's death in 2010, UPA government had appointed a 3-member team comprising journalist Dileep Padgaonkar, academician Radha Kumar and former information commissioner M.M. Ansari as interlocutors to come up with solutions to issues in Kashmir. The team had recommended an amendment, review of AFSPA and releasing political prisoners and stone pelters among other aspects. However, the government didn't take any steps.
Meanwhile, BJP held a youth convention in Kashmir
Meanwhile, to demonstrate the party's secular face, BJP's youth wing held its first ever convention in Kashmir. Addressing a gathering of 1,000 men and women, Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) president Poonam Mahajan quoted AB Vajpayee's "doctrine of Insaniyat, Jamhooriyat and Kashmiriyat." J&K Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh also praised Vajpayee and said Narendra Modi is following Vajpayee's footsteps to solve J&K's problems.