Have no expectations, says Farooq

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SRINAGAR, National Conference president Farooq Abdullah on Sunday said that he had “no expectations” from the government of India’s newly-appointed interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma who is visiting Kashmir on Monday. Addressing a public gathering in Tangdhar area of Kupwara district, he asked the government of India to “devise a sound Kashmir policy.”

“The interlocutor’s appointment is nothing new. I have very little expectations from this new interlocutor. As has been done before, he will come and meet people. In 2010, then UPA government appointed a group of interlocutors who visited the state and had detailed discussions with every section here. The process took more than two months and after they were done with meeting people, a report was compiled. What happened to that report?” Farooq asked.

“Did the government discuss that report in any forum including the Parliament? No. Instead it has been thrown into a dustbin somewhere in the North Block. It was followed by a delegation comprising parliamentarians who visited Kashmir. What happened to that delegation and their recommendations? Nothing happened. So I expect nothing to happen now as well,” he said.

Farooq “rued” the BJP government’s Kashmir-centric policy. “Ever since the Modi-led government assumed power, their Kashmir policy has been swinging like a pendulum. The appointment of the new interlocutor is itself mired in controversies. Home Minister Rajnath Singh describes him as an interlocutor whereas the very next day, another minister in the PMO designates him as a mere spokesperson. So essentially when the mandate given to Dineshwar Sharma is not clearly specified, what is the fun in having deliberations with him?”

Farooq described ‘Autonomy’ as core of his National Conference’s political agenda and a way forward towards resolution of the political issue. “Our stand on resolving the issue of J&K politically is loud and clear: the restoration of pre-1953 situation (sic) to the state,” he said.

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