Mehbooba Mufti welcomes Centre's Kashmir initiative, Congress says 'muscle power' failed

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Former Intelligence Bureau (IB) director Dineshwar Sharma, who the Centre appointed as its representative for a "sustained dialogue" in Jammu and Kashmir, on Monday said his priority would be to restore peace in the state and find a permanent solution to the problem.

Announcing the appointment of Mr Sharama, home minister Rajnath Singh today said that center wanted to bring peace in Jammu and Kashmir.

"The government has chose to appoint former director of IB, Dineshwar Sharma, as the representative of the government to initiate dialogue", Singh said while announcing the decision.

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The Home Minister said that the Government is serious about the issue of Jammu and Kashmir. Sharma would initiate talks with all groups in Kashmir, Singh also said.

"Centre announces an interlocutor to engage with stake holders in J&K".

Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, however, sought clarity on the mandate of the interlocutor.

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According to Singh, Sharma will try to understand the legitimate aspirations of people through the sustained dialogue process. Who gets to decide what is legitimate?

The Modi government had so far refused to include separatists in any dialogue, insisting it would talk only to those who recognised the entirety of Kashmir, including sections controlled by Pakistan and China, as part of India.

"With appointment of interlocutor, I hope government has finally admitted "muscular approach" has failed in J&K", senior Congress leader tweeted. In Srinagar, police and army teams have taken out dozens of local commanders of terrorist groups active in the Kashmir Valley. Sharma was earlier the head of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and he had retired past year in December. "If he centre has take a step, we including other stakeholders should also move a step ahead in cashing upon the opportunity and enter into the dialogue process", Mehbooba said.

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According to KNS, asked whether NIA action on separatists and some businessman will make the dialogue announcement credible, she said that security measures and political process are separate issues.

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