I have been given freehand to talk to anybody: Interlocutor

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    Srinagar: Former Director of the Intelligence Bureau and New Delhi’s new interlocutor for Jammu Kashmir Dineshwar Sharma Wednesday said that he has been given a free freehand by the Government of India (GoI) to talk to anybody as far as “sustained dialogue” in Jammu Kashmir was concerned.

    Talking to Barkha Dutt, the Contributing Editor of The Week, Sharma said, “I have totally open mandate. Anybody I can talk to or anything I can suggest. There are no boundaries, no limitation from government’s side. I have been given a freehand to talk to anybody in Kashmir.”

    On Monday, Home Minister Rajnath Singh announced the appointment of Sharma as government’s representative for carrying forward a “sustained dialogue” with “all stakeholders” in Jammu Kashmir.

    Explaining the term “all stakeholder”, he said all Indians living in Kashmir were stakeholders.

    “I have continuously maintained that all Indians living in Jammu Kashmir are stakeholders. They all have stake in peace in Kashmir. So, Hurriyat automatically comes in that. But whether I will talk with them or not depends upon the situation there and response from them. So, let me go there (Kashmir) and meet people.

    “I am saying any Indian is a stakeholder. Automatically, Hurriyat groups are also Indians,” he asserted.

    Sharma was formally notified about the appointment of him as an interlocutor for Jammu Kashmir on Wednesday.

    A government order read, “The President is pleased to appoint Dineswar Sharma, former director of the Intelligence Bureau, as the representative of the Government of India to initiate and carry forward dialogue with elected representatives, various organisations and concerned individuals in Jammu Kashmir.”