On Monday the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti welcomed the appointment of former Intelligence Bureau (IB) director Dineshwar Sharma as interlocutor for the valley and added that the move was the necessity of the hour.

While addressing a press conference Mehbooba said, “It is a good start and a necessity of the time. I welcome this step taken by the Centre. Sharma is a very good person and has a huge credibility. He has been involved in dialogues in the North East as well.”

She added that it was a good initiative and should be a success.

“People are caught between so much violence these days and they want to come out of it. There are no conditions from both the sides, therefore, I hope the stakeholders from the state utilise this opportunity and contribute in the dialogue process,” the Chief Minister asserted.

Earlier in the day, the Centre announced plans to start a dialogue process in Jammu and Kashmir and appointed former IB chief Dineshwar Sharma as its representative for talks with “all” stakeholders in the state.

“The government has decided to start a sustained dialogue in Jammu and Kashmir. Former IB director Dineshwar Sharma will be Government of India’s representative. Rank of Dineshwar Sharma will be equivalent to that of a Cabinet Secretary,” Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh told the media.

He added that Sharma would initiate the dialogue with elected representatives of Jammu and Kashmir, political parties, different organisations and public.

Singh said that as the government’s representative, Sharma would initiate the sustained interaction and dialogue to understand the legitimate aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.