CM Mehbooba Mufti, Jammu and Kashmir parties hail talk offer, separatists silent

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Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday said that the government of India will start a "sustained" dialogue in Jammu and Kashmir and former Intelligence Bureau director Dineshwar Sharma has been appointed as the GoI's representative.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the move was to carry forward the "the conviction and consistency" in the government's Kashmir policy.

The parleys with various stakeholders - including former militants who gave up the gun and those who returned from camps in Pakistan where they had trained - were in progress when Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his independence day speech, said: "'Na goli seh, na gali seh, baat banegi gale lag ke".

Holding the rank of cabinet secretary, Sharma would be at liberty to speak to whosoever he chooses, Singh said, while replying to a query on whether he would also hold talks with the Hurriyat Conference.

"The government has chose to start a sustained dialogue in Jammu and Kashmir".

The Centre's move to initiate a dialogue in Jammu and Kashmir by appointing an official interlocuter follows a detailed assessment that it is the right time for such an exercise.

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Sharma, took charge as the interlocutor for peace talks with Assam's insurgent groups, including the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA).

Dineshwar Sharma will be government's representative and take the decision on his future interaction with concerned parties.

A Kerala-cadre, 1979-batch IPS officer who retired as director of Intelligence Bureau in December 2016, Sharma was posted in Kashmir way back in 1992, when militancy there was at its peak.

He added an all-party delegation had suggested that the dialogue process start with all sections.

She further said dialogue is the need of the hour and the only way to go forward. He will be leading the fourth official initiative of the Centre to hold dialogue with all stakeholders in Kashmir. "We want to understand aspirations of people of Jammu and Kashmir, particularly its youth". "Will keep an open mind and wait to see results of the dialogue process", he tweeted. Senior Congress leader and former Home Minister P Chidambaram said the movement from "No talks" to "Talks with all stakeholders" was a major victory for those who had argued for a political solution in Jammu and Kashmir. However, on talks with separatists, Rajnath said the interlocutor will be free to decide whom to talk to. Whether there is one going to be taken soon, I am ignorant about it.

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