Centre's interlocutor begins Kashmir visit

No hopes from talks, autonomy only way: Farooq

National Conference President Farooq Abdullah on Sunday said he does not have any expectations from newly-appointed J&K interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma and the only way forward in Kashmir is restoration of autonomy to the state. Addressing a party gathering in border town of Tangdhar in Kupwara district, he said the the Central government should devise a sound Kashmir policy and termed the appointment of a new interlocutor to J&K as nothing new. “I have very little expectations from this new interlocutor. Like it has been done before, he will come and meet people. In 2010, then UPA government appointed a group of interlocutors who visited the state and had detailed discussions with every section here. The process took more than two months and after they were done with meeting people, a report was compiled. What happened to that report? Did the government discuss that report in any forum including the Parliament? “No. Instead it has been thrown into a dust bin somewhere in north Block. It was followed by a delegation comprising of parliamentarians who visited Kashmir. What happened to that delegation and their recommendations? Nothing happened. So I expect nothing to happen now as well,” said the former Chief Minister.
Sharma is expected to meet political leaders, traders and students. However, separatist leaders, including Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yaseen Malik have declined to have parleys with the interlocutor. He said it was their choice whether they want to meet him or not. “I can only suggest everyone to contribute to peace building in the state. People have suffered a lot there.” Sharma is an old Kashmir hand who served as Assistant Director Intelligence Bureau in the state from 1992-94 – the time when militancy was at its peak in Jammu and Kashmir. He headed the IB for two years from December 2015 to December 2016. It was also the time when widespread violent street protests erupted in the Kashmir Valley following the death of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani. (IANS) // ]]>