Appointment of interlocutor for Kashmir ‘only for publicity’: Cong

NEW DELHI, Oct 24: The Congress said today that it doubted the “intent” of the NDA Government in resolving the Kashmir issue, and alleged that it appointed an interlocutor towards the fag end of its rule “only for publicity”.
Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said the Congress and other opposition parties had asked the government to talk to all stakeholders to resolve the “political issue” in the valley through confidence-building measures rather than “hot pursuit”, but it “wasted” three- and-a-half years during which many precious lives were lost.
“We are not opposing the decision of the government. But at the fag end of their tenure, they have done this. This is only for publicity. This government has no Kashmir policy. They have no policy on demonetisation, GST, farmers issues and unemployment. We doubt their intent as they have no policy.
“They have policy only on how to divide and rule the country. That was the only policy pursued by foreign rulers,” he told reporters at a joint press conference of opposition leaders.
Azad, who was flanked by Derek O’Brien of the TMC and Sharad Yadav of the breakaway JD-U faction, said that had the government taken steps as suggested by the Congress-led opposition, many precious lives of soldiers and civilians could have been saved as well as the eyesights of many young girls could have been saved who lost them due to pellet guns.
“For three-and-a-half years, the BJP is talking about ‘hot pursuit’. We all opposition parties both inside and outside of Parliament have been talking about ‘confidence building’ measures, besides ‘hot pursuit’,” he said.
Azad said they had maintained that this was a “political issue” and should be resolved politically.
“No political issue can be resolved by hot pursuit and we had asked government to talk to all stakeholders. We had said that if you have to take political decision, we have to talk to all stakeholders…Had the government taken action three- and-a-half years ago, we would not have lost hundreds of precious lives of soldiers and civilians,” he said.
The Central Government yesterday announced its decision to appoint an interlocutor in former Intelligence Bureau chief Dineshwar Sharma, who would talk to all stakeholders in the troubled state with an aim of bringing peace there.
Sharma, with the rank of Cabinet Secretary, will have complete independence in deciding whom to hold talks with, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said while making the crucial announcement. (Agencies)