On Meeting Hurriyat, Interlocutor Sharma Says “Let’s See”

Jammu—Hurriyat Conference leaders may have boycotted Dineshwar Sharma during his three-day stay in the Valley, but the government appointed interlocutor does not appear to have lost hope of meeting them in future. “Let us see. It was my first visit, there will be many more in days coming ahead,” Sharma said when asked whether he was hopeful of Hurriyat leaders meeting him.

Asked whether he considered the Hurriyat Conference a stakeholder in the dialogue process, he said, “All Indian citizens in Jammu and Kashmir are stakeholders.”

Lt Gen Ds Hooda (Retd) in an article for an online news wire described why Hurriyat ruled out any talks with the Delhi-appointed interlocutor: “In principle, the pro-freedom leadership has always advocated and supported sincere and productive dialogue as a means of conflict resolution over Jammu and Kashmir,” Hooda wrote. “It entails all participants to acknowledge that there is a dispute that has to be resolved. But the GoI continuously refuses to accept this basic premise.”

“There are the usual sceptics about the usefulness of this dialogue, based on the experience of past interlocutors, but in my view this is a significant step forward,” he further wrote. “It is an acknowledgment that conflict resolution in Jammu and Kashmir has to move beyond the narrow prism of gauging success by the number of terrorists killed and stone-pelting incidents tackled.”

Pointing out that the Centre has given him the task to restore peace in Kashmir and find out some solution, Sharma said that this is what he and everybody wants. He has come here to work in that direction, he added.

Earlier, various delegations called on Sharma on Friday. Most of the delegations wanted abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35 A of the Indian Constitution, permanent resident status to refugees from West Pakistan, compensation to refugees from Pakistan controlled Kashmir and deportation of Rohingya Muslims from Jammu.

On Thursday, Sharma after arriving here from Valley, had met a Bharatiya Janata Party delegation who demanded continuance of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in the state and treating over ground workers (OGWs), a term used for sympathisers of militants, as terrorists. He had also called on Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and State Governor N N Vohra on Thursday late evening.

Replying to a question, he said his visit to the state had been “successful”.

He had arrived here yesterday after spending four days in the Valley, during which he met various delegations and political leaders which included former chief minister Omar Abdullah, state Congress chief G A Mir and CPM leaders among others.

He also met a BJP delegation, led by the party’s state president Sat Sharma, here yesterday. Sharma is scheduled to return to the national capital today.


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