Delhi’s ‘Peace’ Initiative:‘Optimistic’ Sharma Says Will Get Hurriyat On Board

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Srinagar—On the third day of his visit to the Valley, the Government of India appointed interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma Wednesday said he would try his best to meet the Hurriyat leaders.

“I will try my best to meet Hurriyat leaders,” Sharma said in response to a question whether he was willing to “walk an extra mile by talking to Hurriyat.”

He took a couple of questions from journalists outside the residence of CPI(M) leader Muhammad Yousuf Tarigami.

The Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), a conglomerate of senior separatist leaders, has rejected any possibility of engaging in parleys with Sharma.

They said the appointment of former IB chief Dineshwar Sharma as the Centre’s representative was nothing more than time-buying tactic “adopted under international pressure and regional compulsions”.

They said Sharma’s assertion that he is coming to Kashmir with the directive from the government of India to “restore peace” rather than addressing the dispute or its resolution “limits the scope of any engagement” with him and makes it an exercise in futility.

Sharma, during his three-day visit which concluded Wednesday, spoke to an estimated 55 delegations from political parties, youths, cross-LoC traders and panchayats. However, the tourism industry kept away, even after a formal invite was sent to them.

Sharma met mainstream political delegations on his three-day visit to Srinagar, and will leave for Jammu today.

The ruling Peoples Democratic Party was represented at its meeting with Sharma by vice-president Mohammad Sartaj Madni, general secretaries Nizamuddin Bhat and Qazi Afzal, and senior leaders Mohammad Khurshid Aalam, Mir Fayaz, Raja Manzoor, Abdul Rahim Rather, and Mohammad Abbas Wani.

“Madni reminded the interlocutor about the trust deficit which impedes any good initiative for peace and resolution. He desired that Centre should do everything possible to gain the confidence of the people and stakeholders in order to sustain the process of dialogue till every stakeholder is willingly engaged (sic),” the PDP, which rules the state in alliance with the BJP, said in a press statement.

“[The] interlocutor was told that public perception is of disbelief and cynicism in Kashmir. The onus is on the Union government to allay apprehensions and attract political, social and religious groups of all hues for a mutually agreed common ground.”

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