Centre’s peace move in Kashmir: Will this derail the NIA terror funding probe?
Minutes after the Centre announced the name of Dineshwar Sharma as the special representative in Kashmir, there were two questions that were raised. Will he speak with the Hurriyat and if he does what happens to the NIA probe against them.
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah was the first to react and said that the acceptance of the political nature of the issue was a defeat of those who saw force as a solution.
The National Conference (NC) leader also sought to know the implications of the move on the NIA investigations into the terror funding cases in the Valley.
Abdullah was reacting to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh statement about the appointment of former Intelligence Bureau chief Dineshwar Sharma as the Centre's representative for a dialogue on Jammu and Kashmir.
"Centre announces an interlocutor to engage with stake holders in J&K. Will keep an open mind and wait to see results of the dialogue process," the former chief minister said in one of the tweets he posted after the announcement.
Sharma the man in charge did not spell out in detail if he would speak with the Hurriyat.
He said that the intention was peace and he would speak to everyone interested in it.
On the other hand, Union Minister Jitendra Singh sent out some mixed signals. One one hand he said that there are no restrictions on Sharma and on the other he said that there was no question of speaking to those indulging in violence. To a specific question on whether Sharma would speak with the Hurriyat, Singh asked how could you speak with people who indulge in violence and hawala transactions. Talks would be within the framework of the Constitution, he also said.
An NIA officer part of the probe on the Kashmir terror funding said that this new decision of the government will have no impact on the investigation. Our probe is independent and even if talks are held with the Hurriyat, it would have no impact on the ongoing investigations, the officer also said.
There were mixed reactions in other quarters. While the general reaction was to welcome the Centre's move, some leaders did not fail to remind the government that its muscular policy was failing.
Former Home Minister P Chidambaram called it "a realisation that muscular policy won't work in Kashmir." Others decided to call it a u-turn by the government
Referring to the home minister's statement that Sharma would try to understand the legitimate aspirations of the people of the state, Abdullah sought to know who would define which of the demands are genuine.
"The 'legitimate aspirations' of people of J&K is an interesting formulation. Who gets to decide what is legitimate?" he tweeted.
He also sought to know the fate of the probe into funding cases.
"What does this mean for the NIA investigation in J&K? Will investigation be suspended to facilitate dialogue with detained Hurriyat leaders?" he asked.
Abdullah said the Centre's move on a dialogue was a resounding defeat for those who saw force as the only solution to Kashmir issue.
"The acceptance of the political nature of the Kashmir issue is a resounding defeat of those who could only see use of force as a solution," he added.
Responding to a tweet about the choice of a non-political representative, Omar said the mandate given to the interlocutor was more important.
"One can't get everything. So for now, we'll take what we can get. More important than the person is the mandate and absence of pre-conditions," he said.