‘Without talking to the Hurriyat, the new interlocutor will achieve nothing’

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  • Publish Date: Nov 11 2017 8:47PM
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  • Updated Date: Nov 11 2017 8:47PM
‘Without talking to the Hurriyat, the new interlocutor will achieve nothing’

A selection of viewpoints on New Delhi appointing Dineshwar Sharma as its emissary to hold talks in Jammu and Kashmir


In the last 70 years, India has sent a host of emissaries to win over Kashmiris for India, or at the least, contain the anti-India sentiment. Many reported back to New Delhi with suggestions about what needed to be done, most recently in 2010. The reports never saw the light of day, however, and Kashmir remains an intractable problem. Still, the Narendra Modi regime has appointed former spymaster Dineshwar Sharma as an interlocutor to “conduct a dialogue” with different shades of opinion in Kashmir. The initiative has already suffered a big setback with the Hurriyat Conference deciding not to speak with Sharma. Given this, can anything meaningful come of Sharma’s effort? 



Radha Kumar

Former Indian interlocutor for Kashmir


I see it as a breakthrough after three years of political indifference and hate speech. It is an opportunity to talk and begin the process for peace, whether it is big or small. The Hurriyat should talk to him (Sharma) which may result in talks at the highest level – with the prime minister. However, I cannot comment on the mandate of the interlocutor. I have read it in newspapers that even autonomy for the state is off the table. 



Hameeda Nayeem

Professor of English, Kashmir University 


The Indian government is using talks as a tool to divide the people of Kashmir. It is clear now what they intend to do. No one is against talks, but what will be the end product of such talks is important. Since the day the interlocutor was appointed, there have been indications that it is just another round of talks without any purpose. Indian analysts, former ministers and politicians have already raised questions about the exercise. They too are sceptical.  



Muhammad Ahsan Untoo

Chairman, International Forum for Justice


Talks and aggression cannot go hand-in-hand. New Delhi must first take measures to create an atmosphere of trust for the talks to be held. Killings of militants, arrests of people, ransacking of properties continue, and amidst this they want to hold talks. Also, one should keep in mind that talks have already taken place in the past without result. I don’t see anything coming of this round of talks either.  




Engineer Rasheed

Legislator, Jammu and Kashmir


The Indian government should show magnanimity and talk to all stakeholders, including the Hurriyat. The government can’t restore the sanctity of dialogue in Jammu and Kashmir that has been lost because of the futility of the previous rounds of talks.



Shakeel Qalander

Former president Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Member, Kashmir Centre for Social and Development Studies (KCSDS)


Dialogue for the resolution of the Kashmir dispute is the need, but how dialogue will be used is a larger question. The history of dialogue over this dispute is known to all. This time it should have been conclusive. Appointing a former spymaster and giving him a secretary rank is not enough. Days have passed, yet there is no clarity on how it would be done. On one hand, they expect the Hurriyat to talk and on the other, the BJP’s ministers and leaders are issuing contradictory statements. Till date no formal invitation has even been sent to the Hurriyat. New Delhi should realise that holding talks in the absence of the Hurriyat is futile because they are the real representatives of the majority of the population. Kashmir is not an economic or developmental issue. The interlocutors may come and hold talks with shikarawalas, traders and civil society, but all that will achieve nothing in absence of the Hurriyat. 



Advocate Bashir Sidiq  


It the old wine in the new bottles. A number of reports done by the previous interlocutors have not seen the light of day. Appointing new one holds no sense. Same exercises have yielded no results.  Talks are to be held with the other side of the divide. The Indian mainstream has no issue, they are ready. When Hurriyat have refused to engage in talks, it has lost its meaning. GoI should engage in talks at the prime minister’s level. Engage Pakistan and Hurriyat, then and only then talks will serve any purpose. 


Wajahat Qazi

Political commentator and columnist


I can’t speak on behalf of the Hurriyat but in the absence of a clear mandate for the interlocutor, past experience and the fact that all stakeholders are not onboard, it is clear that the talks would achieve little.




Ali Mohammad Sagar

Former law minister and General Secretary, National Conference


Any dialogue must happen in a structured manner but such a structure is not being laid down by the Indian government after the interlocutor’s appointment. Any stakeholder can take a call on participating in the dialogue only after knowing what that structure is like. We don’t know it yet, and have not discussed it. Once they come clean on it, the party will sit and discuss, and take a call. At the moment, we have no decided whether we will take part in the talks or not.