Countering false sloganeering and online propaganda top priority: Interlocutor

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    New Delhi: Dineshwar Sharma, who has been entrusted with the task of initiating dialogue with all stakeholders in Jammu and Kashmir, on Sunday said that he will focus on preventing the youth in the Kashmir valley from falling prey to false online propaganda. The former Intelligence Bureau director, who is slated to reach Jammu and Kashmir later this week to take charge of his duties, said that countering false sloganeering and propaganda available online will be one of his top priorities.

    “Surprisingly, everyone asks me whether I want to meet Hurriyat and other separatists groups. I am open to meeting all as has been made clear by the Union home minister (Rajnath Singh) while making the announcement. Why does this doubt arise in the first place,” Sharma was quoted as saying by PTI.

    Speaking about his new role as the interlocutor, Sharma said that he was willing to meet every common person and address their grievances. “I am going to the Valley with no blinkers on,” he said.

    On being asked about focusing on the youth, the 1979-batch IPS officer,said, “One needs to understand that the youth and students are our future. They have to take forward Jammu and Kashmir to new heights in the next few years and that is why my attempt is to clear their misconceptions at this stage so that they progress with a focused vision.” He further said that there have been a lot of reports stating that young Kashmiris were being radicalised by false online propaganda.

    Sharma said that it was a full time job to prevent the youth and provide answers to their queries. He hoped that he will be able to perform his duty well. Sharma, who hails from Bihar has had an emotional attachment with the valley as he got his first field posting in the state back in 1992. “Much water has flown down this bridge since that time. My focus will be to build dams of peace around the rivers of the Valley,” he said.

    Speaking about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s comments on the Kashmir issue during his independence day speech at the red fort, Sharma said that he was simply carrying forward the PM’s message of peace. Replying to a question about demands made by some political parties that Pakistan should also be made a party to the Kashmir issue, Sharma said, smilingly, “My mandate is to ensure peace for my people. Issues beyond this are out of my syllabus.”

    When asked about how his appointment as the new interlocutor in the matter would be different from that of his predecessors, Sharma said that he was not in the business of comparison and it is something that historians do. “”I am not in the business of comparison. I have a job to perform to the best of my abilities and I will do that,” he said.