December 2017 News

Dineshwar In Kupwara: Centre Keen To Restore Peace In Kashmir

25 December 2017
Greater Kashmir
Umer Maqbool

Srinagar: Muhammad Iqbal Bhat, the father of cab driver Asif Iqbal who was killed by army on 16th of this month, was among people who met Dineshwar Sharma, the government of India's special representative for a dialogue in Jammu and Kashmir, here on Monday. Accompanied by his relatives and neighbours, Bhat, a resident of Thandipora Kupwara, met Sharma to seek justice for his son who, he said, was killed in cold-blood by soldiers. During his 15-minute meeting with Sharma, Bhat's only demand was punishment for soldiers involved in his son's killing. 'I told him that my son was innocent and urged him to recommend that guilty soldiers be tried in an open court,' he told Greater Kashmir. 'I also urged Sharma that the police must be directed to register a murder case against soldiers involved in the killing. I demanded that court martial against the soldiers should not end up like the infamous Machil fake encounter verdict,' Bhat said. Sharma arrived in Kupwara at a time when two civilians have been killed by forces in the district, which was also on the boil during the last year's uprising. Sharma, according to Bhat, assured him that he will take up the matter with the army. 'I am also pained over the death of your son. I assure you that I will take up the matter with army's corps commander,' Bhat quoted Sharma as saying. Asif was killed earlier this month when he had come out of his home to ferry a patient to a hospital. While his family and locals said that army killed in him cold-blood, the army claimed that he was killed in crossfire between soldiers and militants during a late-night ambush in the district. Sharma, who arrived in the Valley for the third time on Monday after his appointment as an interlocutor, met people from different walks of life including politicians, 'conflict victims', civil society members, students, traders and others, here. In their interactions with Sharma, the delegations made varied demands including resolution of Kashmir issue, revocation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and an end to human rights violations in Kashmir. Peoples Conference MLA Bashir Dar demanded that Kashmir issue should be resolved according to aspirations of the people. 'I cautioned him (Sharma) that if there was no positive outcome of his meetings with the cross-section of people, it would lead to mistrust among people and they will not trust any such move in future,' Dar told reporters after coming out of the meeting. 'Government of India has given you (Sharma) the authority to search for a solution to the Kashmir problem which is the main source of discontent between India and Pakistan. Kashmir problem should be addressed according to the aspirations of people,' Dar told Sharma. Muhammad Akbar Mir, who headed a delegation of Machil residents to Sharma, said: 'I raised the issue of return of power projects to the state. I told the envoy that a large number of jobless youth may get jobs if the Centre returns the projects.' During their interaction, some delegations demanded that India and Pakistan must hold a dialogue with representatives of Kashmiri people to resolve the Kashmir issue. 'I told him that the only way to resolve the prolonged Kashmir issue was a tripartite dialogue. The security forces' in Kashmir have been given a free hand to commit the rights violations under the garb of counter-insurgency operations,' said Muhammad Aslam, traders' federation president Trehgam, adding that Sharma assured him that government of India was 'keen restore peace in Kashmir and the resolve the issue.' 'I also drew his attention to recent civilian killings in Kupwara and urged him that guilty forces personnel must be brought to book for extra-judicial killings so that such unfortunate killings do not happen in future. I referred to frequent ceasefire violations at borders in which common people were being killed,' he said. Sharma also faced questions from the public over recommendations made by interlocutors appointed earlier by the government of India. 'I asked Sharma what happened to the recommendations of interlocutors who held talks with cross section of people in Kashmir. Kashmir is a political issue and must be addressed politically through a meaningful dialogue between various stakeholders,' Farooq Ahmad Mir, Congress' district president told Greater Kashmir.