March 2018 News

Interlocutor Visits Militancy Hotbed Tral

29 March 2018
Rising Kashmir
Sameer Showkin Lone

Tral: The Government of India (GoI) interlocutor on Kashmir, Dineshwar Sharma Thursday visited the volatile town of Tral in south Kashmir's Pulwama district and discussed cricket facilies and land issued with six delegations, who called on him. Sharma arrived in the TownhallTral, here at around 10.15 am. Tral is the home town of top militant commander Zakir Musa and slain Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani. The township observed partial shutdown and heavy security arrangements were put in place to ensure the safe passage to Sharma. Sharma was appointed as interlocutor by GoI last year to hold talks with stakeholders of Jammu and Kashmir. Six delegations met Sharma and five of them were apolitical while one delegation comprised some BJP members. A delegation of local cricket team namely Mantaqi-11 from Awantipora carrying cricket bats met Sharma. One of the players told Rising Kashmir that they raised the issue of cricket infrastructure with the interlocutor. 'He assured us all the help. We are talented cricketers but we lack adequate coaching facilities. He assured us all possible help,' he said. The cricketers alleged that the state government is 'chor (thief)'. 'We met Sharma because he is from Delhi and will help us'. Asked if they know the role of Sharma, the young boys said, 'Yes, we have seen him in the news. He is solving problems like giving cricket stadiums, roads and transformers. So we want a good cricket stadium and a coach for our cricket team'. A group of lawyers from Awantipora also met the interlocutor. Another delegation from Jauvbera village of Awantipora, Pulwama also called on Sharma. Talking to Rising Kashmir, the delegation comprising Ali Mohammad, Ghulam Mohammad and Abdul Aziz Rather said, 'We raised the issue of land that is under the control of CRPF and Army. He has responded positively. We have some 700-800 kanals of land near the army camp, which we use for stone quarrying but the army is disallowing us from using the land. It is our main source of income. Sharma has assured that he will raise the issue with DC Pulwama'. Two delegations from Sikh community also met Sharma. Chairman GurduwaraPrabhand Committee Awantipora Shaun Singh led a delegation and demanded minority status for Sikhs in J&K. Singh, who is also a member of ruling PDP, said he didn't meet Sharma in the capacity of a political activist but as a representative of Sikh community. 'We have some genuine grievances that need to be raised with the GoI. We demanded minority status for Sikhs and a special Prime Minister's package like the one for Kashmiri Pandits. We also demanded reservation in the state legislature. We don't have a single member in the Assembly,' Singh told Rising Kashmir. He said he questioned Sharma why New Delhi was delaying solution of Kashmir issue. 'The delay in the solution is only bringing miseries to the common people of Kashmir. How long this eyesore will have to treat it someday'. 'I have to understand the pain and for that I have to meet people in their homes. I have to understand their living condition so that I can improve upon that,' Sharma said. Sharma said the number of delegates that he met in Tral started the conversation at a very high decibel level but at the end, they were satisfied that he had heard them patiently and assured redressal of their grievances. While some delegations wanted a play ground for children, the others complained of alleged harassment by the Army and security personnel. 'Some wanted that a political solution should be arrived soon so that the Kashmir issue comes to an end. I know I do not have a magic wand in my hand to set everything right but I can always lend a patient ear and try whatever to bring some relief to their daily lives,' Sharma said. He admitted that fear was looming large in Tral, but expressed hope that all-round development was necessary for the area to negate the negative influence of militant and separatist groups. 'You see, Tral is famous for its natural springs. The area can turn around into exotic tourist locations and necessary steps should be taken for that. The fruits of economy should reach the common people in the area. This should be our endeavour and this should be our goal,' he added.