Hurriyat leaders described the Centre’s move to appoint the new interlocutor as an eye-wash. They called Dineshwar Sharma’s appointment a ‘time-buying tactic, adopted under international pressure’.
They alleged that the dialogue process is ‘a ploy to strike a hard bargain with Kashmiris’. A week after the Centre appointed an interlocuter to engage all Kashmiris, particularly the youth as well as the separatists, the Hurriyat Conference rebuffed the move claiming that the government refuses to acknowledge Kashmir as a dispute.
Further, Hurriyat hardliner Syed Shah Geelani, and so-called moderate Mirwaiz Umar Farooq as well as Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Yasin Malik, in a joint statement, called Sharma’s appointment a “time-buying tactic, adopted under international pressure”.
The Centre had appointed Sharma, the former director of the Intelligence Bureau (IB), as the J&K interlocutor on October 23 to launch a sustained dialogue to restore peace in the strife-torn valley. Sharma, who will arrive in Srinagar in a few days, extended an informal invitation to Hurriyat members through a news agency for talks on Tuesday, but the latter rebuffed his proposal.
“Dineshwar Sharma’s appointment as interlocutor for J&K is nothing more than a tactic to buy time adopted under international pressures and regional compulsions,” read the statement, adding that engaging with Sharma will “undermine their freedom struggle, which has been nourished by the blood of their people.”
The Hurriyat also condemned Sharma’s recent comment where he said his main priority was to prevent Kashmir from turning into Syria by de-radicalising its youth.
“To compare the internationally recognized 70-year-old political and humanitarian issue of Kashmir with the sectarian war in Syria is deception and propaganda as there is no corelation between the two situations,” the Hurriyat statement said.
Referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “outright dismissal” of former home minister P Chidambaram’s ‘controversial’ remark on the state’s autonomy, the Hurriyat said the Centre cannot begin peace talks without first addressing the “demand of its co-political party for restoration of autonomy guaranteed by the Indian constitution”.
It added that though the Hurriyat supports sincere and productive dialogue as means of conflict resolution in Jammu and Kashmir, the process is a “futile attempt” as the Centre does not acknowledge that there is a dispute to be resolved.