Pulwama: The Modi government’s special envoy to Kashmir, Dineshwar Sharma, went to restive Pulwama district on Sunday and met there a dozen delegations –in less than three hours — among them the family of incarcerated photojournalist Kamran Yousuf.
Amid elaborate security arrangements, Sharma reached the Circuit House in main town Pulwama at about 3 in the afternoon and by 5:45 PM he had managed to meet and talk to over a dozen delegations.
Sources told Kashmir Reader that the delegations were already waiting for Sharma at the Circuit House. Among the delegations were a group of youths booked for stone-pelting, a delegation of students, a delegation of the youth wing of the National Conference (NC), a a delegation of unemployed youth, a delegation of Gujjar-Bakerwal youth, and delegations of handicrafts workers, Kakapora Development Society, Department of Horticulture Litter Zone, Civil Society Pulwama, and Saffron growers of Pampore town.
Members of the “stone-pelters” delegation told Kashmir Reader that Sharma listened to them and promised that their cases will be looked into.
“We apprised him of the current situation and told him that we were being forced to come out on the streets,” the members told Kashmir Reader.
Another group of students from the Women’s College at MA Road Srinagar apprised Sharma of the gender bias and other difficulties faced by women in Kashmir.
“About ten students of the Srinagar college told Sharma that they faced gender bias in the valley. They also told him that they do not get the kind of support they should when they want to organise an event,” a source told Kashmir Reader.
The sources said that Sharma assured the girls all help.
Kamran Yousuf’s mother and maternal uncle were among those who met Sharma. The family could not be reached for their comments.
Kamran Yousuf was arrested by police and then handed over to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on September 4 this year. He has been in NIA custody ever since.
Members of other delegations refused to acknowledge that they had gone to meet Sharma.
“I am just a government employee and was ordered to be here today. I am doing my job,” said one member of a delegation.
Sharma is likely to visit Anantnag on Monday.