Former Intel czar now govt’s interlocutor in Kashmir

Its being termed as revision of strategy in Jammu and Kashmir as central government has now assigned former Intelligence Bureau chief Dineshwar Sharma as its interlocutor for the conflict ridden state. None less than Home Minister Rajnath Singh announced the changed strategy on Monday and also added that the retired officer would be given free hand to deal with all groups and individuals including Kashmiri separatists.

“As a representative of the government of India, Dineshwar Sharma will initiate a sustained interaction and dialogue to understand legitimate aspirations of people in Jammu and Kashmir,” the Home Minister said.

This is the first concrete initiative by the NDA government in three years to reach out to Kashmiris and comes after a particularly-focussed offensive by security agencies anchored from Delhi to crack down on foreign funding for separatists. In Srinagar, police and army teams have taken out dozens of local commanders of terrorist groups active in the Kashmir Valley.

The outreach, which indicates a shift in the central government’s approach to handle the Kashmir issue from the prism of security operations without a matching political outreach, has been welcomed by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. “Dialogue is a necessity of the hour and the only way to go forward,” she said.

Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, however, said he would “keep an open mind and wait to see results of the dialogue process”.

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