Conflict

I am worried about Kashmir, radicalization might turn it into Syria, says interlocutor Sharma

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‘Ready to talk to a Rikshawala too’

‘Going through earlier reports, will like to try some new ideas’ 

New Delhi: The newly appointed Kashmir interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma has said that he is worried for the people of Kashmir as radicalization is picking up and it will turn Kashmir into Syria.

The former Intelligence Bureau chief said that it will be his top priority to de-radicalize youth and militants in the valley, reported the IANS.

Sharma, who is an old Kashmir hand, says his mission to bring an end to violence would also include talking to anyone “even a rickshaw puller or a cart puller” who can contribute so that peace is ushered in the state “as soon as possible”.

“I feel the pain and sometimes I become emotional also. I want to see this kind of violence ends as soon as possible from all sides. The youth of Kashmir like Zakir Musa (Kashmir Al Qaeda chief) and Burhan Wani (slain Hizbul Mujahideen commander) get hype when they talk about (establishing Islamic) Caliphate,” Sharma told IANS in an interview, referring to the new-age Kashmir militant commanders.

Sharma said that if the situation remains the same, it would trun Kashmir into war zones like Syria, Yemen and Libya. He also pointed out that the youth of Kashmir are ruining their future in the name of Azadi (Freedom).

“I am worried about the people of Kashmir. If all this picked up, the situation will be like Yemen, Syria and Libya. People will start fighting in so many groups. So, it is very important that everybody, all of us, contribute so that suffering of Kashmiris end. I will have to convince the youth of Kashmir that they are only ruining their future and the future of all Kashmiris in the name of whether they call it azadi (independence), Islamic caliphate or Islam. You can take examples like Pakistan, Libya, Yemen or any country where such things are going. They have become the most violent places in the world. So, I want to see that it doesn’t happen in India.”

However Sharma is working on modalities to reach out to the youth. He however added that he is ready to take to even a Rikshawala.

“I am open to talking to everybody. Anybody who believes in peace and wants to come and give me some ideas how to go about, I am willing to listen. He can be an ordinary student, ordinary youth, a rickshawala or a thelawala with some good idea. I will consider that.”

When asked weather he wants to talk to Hurriyat leaders, who as of now have not reacted to his appointment, Sharma maintained, “Let me see. I am ready to talk to everybody. Anybody who wants to contribute to peace.”

Regarding the reports of the earlier interlocutors, Sharma said that he is going through them but would like to try some new ideas.

“I am studying the reports (of previous interlocutors) but other than that I am trying to see some new ideas.”

Kashmir is not Sharma’s first assignment of brokering peace. In June this year, he was tasked to initiate a dialogue with insurgent groups in Assam, including the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) and those representing Bodos.

Sharma pointed out that the biggest difference between North East and Kashmir is that there is no involvement of Pakistan or any third country.

 

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