Srinagar: Asserting that “dialogue” was not a favour to Kashmir, members of various pro-India political parties told New Delhi’s interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma to take “confidence-building measures” to make Kashmir-Delhi dialogue credible and meaningful.
On the third and final day of his visit to Kashmir, Sharma met mostly representatives of pro-India political parties on Wednesday. Among those he met was former chief minister and leader of opposition in the state assembly, Omar Abdullah. Sharma went to Abdullah’s Gupkar residence to meet him.
“Dineshawar Sharma & I met at my residence in Srinagar this morning. We discussed the prevailing situation in the state and also steps that can be taken to make his visits to the state more meaningful,” Omar wrote on Twitter.
Later, Abdullah told the media that he hoped the interlocutor will work upon his suggestions, “as sitting in a guesthouse and waiting for people to come and meet him won’t yield results”.
Sharma also went to the house of CPI leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami to meet him. The chief of Democratic Party Nationalist (DPN), Ghulam Hassan Mir, and the chairman of People’s Democratic Front, Hakim Muhammad Yasin, also met him there.
Tarigami told the media that the trio of leaders told Sharma to make the dialogue meaningful by taking confidence-building measures.
“We told him dialogue is the only solution. There is consensus in the world that wherever the issues are, of whatever nature they are, dialogue is the only way forward,” Tarigami said.
He said the trio told Sharma that Government of India (GoI) should start a serious dialogue with Kashmiris.
“The talks were not a favour to Kashmir. There is a legitimate concern which needs to be addressed. It is the duty of GoI to address the issue and to initiate talks without any delay,” Tarigami said
“The GOI should make the talks sustainable and institutionalise the mechanism. They should talk to Hurriyat and others political dissenters,” he added.
Tarigami also spelled out the list of confidence-building measures that he suggested to the interlocutor.
“We asked him to appoint an impartial commission to investigate the killings (by armed forces). We told him that people have the right to know who killed their dear ones and why?” he said.
“We also told him to release political prisoners lodged in jails in Kashmir and outside. We asked him to review the cases of youths and children who have been booked during the unrest of 2016 and 2017. We also asked him to remove the bunkers from civilian areas and call back the forces from populated areas,” Tarigami said.
Sharma met Congress leaders, including state president GA Mir, at the Congress office located near the airport.
Mir said that the Congress leaders asked Sharma to first describe his mandate. “We asked him whether he was a fire-fighter who had been sent to take the PDP-BJP dispensation out of its difficulties. Or whether this was just a stunt to reap electoral benefits for the upcoming national elections,” Mir told Kashmir Reader.
“We told him it is good that the centre has finally realised the necessity of holding talks, after unleashing bullets and pellets on the people in Kashmir,” Mir said.
Mir said he told Sharma that Kashmiris were fed up with interlocutors.
“We asked him to take the dialogue forward from where the reports of previous interlocutors and working groups stopped,” Mir said.
Asked whether the Congress delegates told the interlocutor to talk to Hurriyat and dissident groups, Mir said that Sharma told them he was making efforts to talk to the Hurriyat.
Independent MLA from Langate Engineer Rasheed also met Sharma. In a statement, Rasheed said that during his meeting with Sharma he told him that whatsoever confusion there is, it lies in New Delhi and not among Kashmiris. It is for New Delhi to decide whether it wants to resolve the Kashmir dispute once for all or not, Rasheed said.
He also said that humiliating Kashmiris, pressurising them by using NIA and ED as tools to suppress their genuine voices, and denying human rights to people of J&K will complicate the problem further.
The statement said that Rasheed made it clear to Sharma that without including all stakeholders, including Pakistan and the militant leadership, in the talks, nothing can be achieved. “While even kids and 80-year-old veterans are being booked under draconian laws, Kashmiris have a right to know why they were subjected to forced labour for one-and-a-half decade in various parts of Jammu and Kashmir, including in Bandipora, Langate, Kupwara and Uri at the hands of security forces, and why do every time those wearing uniform go free despite committing heinous crimes in Jammu & Kashmir?” Rasheed asked Sharma.