November 2017 News

Interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma Wraps Up Second Kashmir Visit Without Meeting Key Stakeholders

29 November 2017
The New Indian Express
Fayaz Wani

Srinagar: Central government's interlocutor on Kashmir on Wednesday wrapped up his second visit to the State without meeting the key stakeholders including leaders of opposition National Conference and separatist Hurriyat Conference. Sharma, the former Intelligence Bureau chief, wrapped up his five-day visit to the State today. He had arrived on 25 on his second visit after being appointed as interlocutor on Kashmir by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on October 23 for holding sustained dialogue with all stakeholders in Jammu and Kashmir. During his stay in Valley, he visited unrest hotbed Pulwama and Anantnag towns in south Kashmir. Both Pulwama and Anantnag along with two other south Kashmir districts Shopian and Kulgam were the epicentre of last year's unrest following killing of 21-year-old Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces on July 8, 2016. South Kashmir is also turning out to be stronghold of militants also. According to security officials of the 200-220 militants active in Valley, 100-120 are present in south Kashmir. At both Pulwama and Anantnag, Sharma met delegations of students, youth, some elderly persons and individuals. A Congress delegation also met him in Anantnag on Tuesday. Sharma had described his interactions with people in Pulwama and Anantnag as 'good, nice and frank'. Surprisingly, authorities imposed restrictions around the office of Deputy Commissioner Pulwama, where Sharma was staying and interacted with the delegations. For the second time, the interlocutor did not meet the leaders of main opposition National Conference (NC). During his first visit to state after being appointed as interlocutor, he had not invited NC leaders for talks and met former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, who is also NC working president, in personal capacity. Sharma has also not reached out to the separatist leaders to bring them on the negotiating table. A political analyst Aadil Ahmad said by ignoring two major and key stake holders (NC and Hurriyat), it seems that Sharma's interlocution process is not a serious effort but time consuming process. 'His first priority should have been to reach out to separatists, NC leaders and civil society members of Kashmir. But he is ignoring key players and meeting 'irrelevant' ones. He needs to do his home work properly,' he said. State Congress vice president and MLC Ghulam Nabi Monga told New Indian Express that interlocution process is not serious. 'The interlocutor should talk to the key stakeholders including Hurriyat Conference leaders,' he said.