Will Newly Appointed Interlocutor Solve Kashmir Problem?


Narendra Modi government has finally appointed an interlocutor to find out a way to solve Kashmir tangle. Deeneshwar Sharma, former Director of Intelligence Beureau, is the newly appointed interlocutor and his appointment was made just before the visit of US Secretary of State, Rex Tellerson. The timing of the appointment suggests that it was done to show United States that Indian government is not averse to talking to Kashmiri people to solve the problems of the state. It is apt to mention that for the last three years, government stand was that we would not initiate a dialogue with those who are indulging and promoting violence in the state.
The appointment evoked mixed response in political and diplomatic circles. Some criticised this decision by saying that Modi government has taken a U- Turn by backing out from its earlier resolve of not talking to separatist elements, who are exciting people of Kashmir to indulge in violence. When Home Minister was announcing about the appointment a question was asked whether leaders of All Kashmir Hurriyat Conference would also be invited for dialogue, the minister replied that it was upon the interlocutor to decide about it. Obviously, the interlocutor has been given the mandate to talk any person, he likes fit to talk.
The interlocutor Deeneshwar Sharma later made it clear that he would talk to any person, who approaches him to talk. It is clear that Government has decided to talk to those elements also, who are considered to be anti national and responsible for the present violent situation of the state. The reactions of Omar and Farooque Abdullah were wonderful. They were initially asking for the dialogue with the people of the state. Government was averse to dialogue with some leaders, who were being investigated by National Investigation Agency and Enforcement Directorate for terror funding. But Abdullah wanted the government to talk to them. Now, government has decided to talk to them with its interlocutor, who has been also termed as special representative by Jitendra Singh, Minister of State, in Prime Minister office, Abdulla is hesitant in welcoming the decision. Now, he is saying that talk should be initiated with Pakistan as well.
Talking is not a bad idea. In fact, ultimately all problems are solved only through talks. Hence, there is nothing wrong in opening channel through interlocutor. Kashmir is a complex problem and it solution cannot be a simple one. BJP is part of the alliance government led by Mehbooba Mufti, who was insisting for long time to initiate talk with people. Central government could not have avoided the demand of state government, which has an important role to play in the restoration of normalcy in the Valley. Now Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti is pleased that her demand has been fulfilled.
But, the million dollar question is whether the newly appointed interlocutor will solve the Kashmir problem? A person cannot solve that problem; hence this question is perhaps not suitable one. But one would like to know whether the interlocutor will show the way to solve the problem? As things stand today nothing is unknown about the Kashmir problems. Many people have deliberated a lot over it. In the past, too, some interlocutors had visited the valley and interacted with the people. Their reports are with the government of India and no one knows what action has been taken by the government based on those reports.
Since, government knows Kashmir problem with all its dimensions, there is hardly anything substantial to know from the interactions of newly appointed interlocutor with people of Kashmir. Deeneshwar Sharma was earlier director of Intelligence Beureau and he was also posted in Kashmir as an Officer of BSF fighting against the insurgency. He can use his old experience to understand the pulse of common people regarding the undergoing actions of Army and Security Forces and terrorists and separatists. His findings are not going to solve the political problems; they may help security forces to devise right policy to isolate terrorists in Kashmir society. Once terrorists lose the social support, it would be easier for the security forces to eliminate them. Hence, the appointment of new interlocutor is not going to be a futile exercise.

– Contributed by Kriti

Picture: The newly appointed interlocutor, Mr. Deeneshwar Sharma, with Union Home Minister Mr. Rajnath Singh and Minister of State, Home Affairs, Mr. Kiren Rijju  (Credits: PIB, Home Affairs)

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