India appoints special envoy to ‘resolve’ Kashmir conflict

  • Modi-led government has appointed ex-intelligence chief Dineshwar Sharma
  • He has been mandated to hold sustained interaction to understand Kashmiris' legitimate aspirations

NEW DELHI – The Indian government has appointed a special government representative to hold talks with Kashmiri leaders in a planned bid to suppress the freedom movement in the occupied Muslim-majority valley.

Dineshwar Sharma, a former intelligence chief, has been named as special envoy who will negotiate with different sections, including political representatives and other groups of the occupied Kashmir.

The move follows months tension escalated in the valley with the martyrdom of local freedom fighter Burhan Wani in 2016 by the Indian forces. At least 90 Kashmiris were killed during protest against Wani’s martyrdom.

This is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first initiative to defuse tension in the valley since holding the seat in 2014. However, such kinds of moves had not been successful in the past.

“As a representative of government of India, …Sharma will initiate a sustained interaction and dialogue to understand legitimate aspirations of the people of Kashmir,” said Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

Before his appointment, Rajnath Singh said Dineshwar Sharma had been tasked with holding “sustained interaction and dialogue to understand legitimate aspirations of people in Jammu and Kashmir”

The severity of the situation can be gauged from the fact that Indian army in running year killed 166 Kashmiris calling them militants.

Modi- led government that has tough stance and halted talks with Kashmiri leaders since 2014 held out an olive branch to them in August.

Omar Abdullah, the former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir welcomed the initiative as saying, “The acceptance of the political nature of the Kashmir issue is a resounding defeat of those who could only see use of forces as a solution”.

“One can´t get everything, so for now we´ll take what we can get,” he posted on his Twitter account.