Prevent Kashmir from turning into a Syria of India: Interlocutor

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    New Delhi: The newly appointed interlocutor by the Government of India to hold talks with “all stakeholders in Kashmir” on Friday said that his biggest challenge and the top priority in Kashmir is to “de-radicalize Kashmiri youth and militants” and prevent it from turning into a Syria of India. Sharma told a New Delhi based news gathering agency that he will have to convince the youth of Kashmir that they are only ruining their future and the future of all Kashmiris in the name of whether they call it azadi (independence), Islamic caliphate or Islam. “You can take examples like Pakistan, Libya, Yemen or any country where such things are going. They have become the most violent places in the world. So, I want to see that it doesn’t happen in India.” Sharma said that his mission to bring an end to violence would also include talking to anyone “even a rickshaw puller or a cart puller” who can contribute so that peace is ushered in the state “as soon as possible”. The former Intelligence Bureau director, Sharma said, that he is personally pained to see the path Kashmiris, particularly youth, have chosen that would only destroy the society. He said the way youth of Kashmir were moving, “which is radicalization”, would ultimately “finish the Kashmir society itself. In an interview to a news gathering agency, Sharma said: “I am worried about the people of Kashmir. If all this picked up, the situation will be like Yemen, Syria and Libya. People will start fighting in so many groups. So, it is very important that everybody, all of us, contribute so that suffering of Kashmiris end.” Sharma said J&K was almost at peace before the 2008 unrest over a land row and the 2016 wave of violent street protests after the killing of Burhan Wani. “Somehow the minds of youths and students have been diverted somewhere else. That is the point of address. I have seen the violence in Kashmir from very close quarters. I was posted in Srinagar. So the kind of violence I have seen, I am really pained. I am very sad.”