New DelhiDineshwar Sharma, Centre’s interlocutor, will embark on his second visit to South Kahsmir’s worst-hit areas of Anantnag, Pulwama and adjoining areas from November 26. He will go to Jammu on November 24 and 25.
A source close to Sharma told a Delhi-based TV that the focus is on youth this time. “He might also visit some of the colleges where students resorted to stone-pelting,” the source added.
Protesting against the “harassment by security forces”, girls from the Pulwama Degree college, for the first time, hurled stones at soldiers in April this year.
Two of these girls had earlier told CNN-News18 that they felt humiliated and threatened by forces who entered their college in April, and hence, forced them to pelt stones.
Sources close to Sharma confirmed that complaints of harassment by forces were brought to his notice during his first visit. Subsequently, he recommended that first time stone pelters be given amnesty.
Sharma’s decision to visit South Kashmir is significant since the region has been in the vortex of unrest after Burhan Wani’s death.
Intelligence Bureau inputs suggest that spike in violence in Kashmir, since the last year, has been led by teenagers, and those in the age group of 18-25, the most estranged and disgruntled section of the society.
The number of Kashmiri boys taking to militancy has seen a spike since Burhan Wani’s death.
More than 90% of the home-grown militants, in the past one year, have been from South Kashmir region. Incidents of Stone pelting and eulogizing the likes of Zakir Musa have also been reported maximum among the youth of this area.
Sharma also plans to meet Kashmiri students who are studying in Delhi-NCR and surrounding states such as Rajasthan, Haryana, and UP. “They go back home and people see mainland India through their eyes. If alienation has to end, their harassment too should end,” a source said.
Sharma is hopeful that the latest Confidence Building Measures (CBM) announced by union government will create the right atmosphere for him to reach out to the hardliners. South Kashmir is the hub of extremism in the valley and Sharma believes the main issue is governance-related which can be addressed.
On the question of Sharma engaging with separatists, sources said that the interlocutor has already met some second-rung leaders and is hopeful of meeting some of the top leadership, too, in the coming days. “The focus is to ensure that the summer of 2018 is peaceful. That is the timeline that the interlocutor is currently looking at,” an officer close to Sharma said.
The next big challenge for the interlocutor could be resentment over article 35-A. Even though Dineshwar Sharma has refused to get into any political discussion, sources confirmed that delegation members in Jammu and Kashmir have mentioned the anxiety around the possibility that 35-A may be revoked by the supreme court and the centre may support such a move.
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