Delegation presented Quran to Sharma
Srinagar: New Delhi’s interlocutor for Kashmir, Dineshwar Sharma, continued to meet various “delegations” on the second day of his visit to Kashmir on Tuesday. Some of the delegates he met told him to have a dialogue with Pakistan and with Hurriyat leaders, besides reaching out to rural Kashmir to address the “constituency of pain”.
By late evening, he had met 32 delegations at Hari Niwas, the erstwhile residence of the Dogra king of Jammu and Kashmir. The delegations included mostly youth forums, some student associations, panchyat association, lawyers, and some cultural forums.
After meeting Sharma, the youth president of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Waheed Parra, told Kashmir Reader that he asked the interlocutor to address the “constituency of pain”.
“We told him to reach out to the people in rural Kashmir,” Parra said. “We told him to talk to youngsters, to the families of militants, to Insha (a teenage girl blinded by pellets), and address the bigger constituency of pain which is concentrated not in Srinagar but in rural Kashmir.”
Parra said that his delegation apprised Sharma of the negative role played by the Delhi media. “We told him that the media was more dangerous than pellets,” Parra said. “We also told him that the time has come to restore the credibility of the institution of dialogue.”
Asked how this interlocutor was different from previous ones, Parra said that Sharma’s appointment had reinvented the dialogue process of 2001.
“If you look at the earlier (dialogue), the talks were not owned by the governments. This time, the government has owned it by appointing Sharma and giving him the status of cabinet secretary. It indicates that this is a serious initiative,” he said.
Parra dodged questions when asked how the interlocutor can make dialogue more substantial and effective without the inclusion of Hurriyat and Pakistan.
Saifullah Farooq, head of the Human Welfare Association formed by released militants, said that they presented a Quran, written in Hindi, to the interlocutor.
“We asked him to read the Quran and be on the righteous path,” said Farooq, who claims his organisation has 900 members. “We told him to rehabilitate the released militants. We also asked him to rehabilitate pellet victims who are begging in Delhi for money to get treated.”
He insisted that their forum should not be recognised just as a forum of surrendered militants. “We are released militants. We have spent time in jail. I myself was imprisoned for eight years,” Farooq said.
He said that their delegation told the interlocutor that it was not possible to solve Kashmir without inclusion of Kashmiris and Pakistan. “We told him that tripartite talks were the solution to the Kashmir issue,” he said.
The panchayat association asked Sharma to not disrupt the “democratic process”.
Led by the head of the association, Shafiq Mir, the delegates told Sharma to provide the panchs security as their life was at risk. They also said that their grievances were not properly looked into by the state government.
Outside Hari Niwas, apart from a few journalists, a military bunker was placed along with a large posse of forces to provide security.
The delegates came either in cars or silently entered the gates in groups of two or three persons.
A person who came from Budgam said after coming out of Hari Niwas that he told the interlocutor that there was no tehsildar posted in their area.
“I told him that we need a tehsildar in our area as we face problems. Hopefully, he will listen to our demand,” he said.
Sharma has come on a five-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir. He will stay for three days in Srinagar and two days in Jammu.