BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav on Saturday said the Centre’s special representative and former Intelligence Bureau Director, Dineshwar Sharma, “is mandated to talk to all groups and leaders in Jammu and Kashmir”, hinting at New Delhi’s willingness to engage with the Hurriyat too.“Mr. Sharma will talk to all those groups who want to talk. He is a representative of the Government of India,” said Mr. Madhav, who is in Srinagar on a two-day visit when he will chair the BJP’s State Working Committee meeting.He described the appointment of Mr. Sharma as a “continuation of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s earlier dialogue” last year at the peak of public unrest. Continuity in talks“Mr. Sharma’s [initiative] is the continuity of that process as the Home Minister cannot himself visit again and again,” he said.On the question whether the special representative would talk to the separatist Hurriyat or not, Mr. Madhav said, “This question should be asked to the Hurriyat whether they are ready or not to talk.”The BJP leader refused to comment on the Central government’s plan to extend talks offer to Pakistan too.Neither rejecting nor accepting the Centre’s dialogue offer so far, separatist leaders — Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik — on Friday described Jammu and Kashmir’s ordinance on setting the quantum of punishment for protests and damage to property as “outrageous and dictatorial”.“Observing a shutdown is a universally accepted democratic and peaceful right of protest. Fixing a punishment for it reflects the totalitarian and repressive mindset,” they said in a statement. They alleged the ordinance, which calls for imprisonment over calling for public protests, “is aimed at instilling fear of retribution and punishment”.