Students return dissatisfied from Sharma meeting

Students return dissatisfied from Sharma meeting

No answer to questions about pellet guns, stone pelters, AFSPA

Anantnag: Student delegations that on Tuesday met the government of India’s special representative to the Valley, Dineshwar Sharma, were left dismayed as they get no answers to the questions they posed to him.
Sharma was on his second visit to south Kashmir. He made his first one yesterday, to Pulwama district.
On Tuesday, he arrived at the Anantnag Dak Bungalow at about 10 am and spent the day meeting over 30 delegations from different walks of society.
Though media persons were not allowed inside the venue, sources told Kashmir Reader that delegations from pro-India parties, including the Congress and the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), civil society and student groups met Sharma.
“There were over eight delegations of students from different colleges, higher secondary’s and schools in Anantnag district,” sources said.
Students who talked to the media after their interaction with Sharma said they were disappointed with the response they got while they tried to highlight some ‘genuine issues’ before the interlocutor.
“I talked about use of pellet guns. I asked him (Sharma) how come a gun used on animals in other parts of the world is used on us despite the fact that you call us your own kids,” a student said, requesting anonymity.
Another student said that he and his college mates raised the issue of students being booked under different cases during the student uprising earlier this year.
“We told him that the students were booked under various cases without looking into the causes of the student agitation. Some students have even appeared hand-cuffed in their examination centres. We told him that confidence can be built through providing amnesty to such students, if not through anything else,” some students told Kashmir Reader.
A woman student said she spoke about a respectful resolution to the Kashmir issue because the student community remains the worst affected through the violence.
“We spoke to him about how New Delhi’s promises of a resolution to the issues have proved to be cosmetic and insincere to say the least. They talk about the education sector, but how can education thrive when there is no sincere effort to make the atmosphere better,” asked the student.
However, the students said, there were no answers to such questions from Sharma.
Students told Kashmir Reader that Sharma only listened to such points raised by the students, and when he was asked for answers, he had none.
“When the point of scrapping AFSPA (the Armed Forces Special Powers Act) and other draconian laws was raised by the students, Sharma said he was not authorised to reply and that he would just listen and prepare a sincere report,” the students said, adding that they were well aware of whatever happened to the reports of interlocutors appointed earlier.
The only time Sharma was prompt in speaking, students said, was when he had to denounce militancy.
“He told us that the gun was not a solution and that he was a firm believer in that. Unfortunately we have been listening to such sermons for ages now,” the students said.
Kashmir Reader tried repeatedly to reach Sharma to get a reaction, but he did not take any calls.
Apart from students, a Congress delegation led by Gulzar Ahmad, lawmaker from Shangus, met Sharma.
Gulzar told media persons that they intimated Sharma about the importance of the Hurriyat’s role in the resolution of the Kashmir issue.
“He was told to take all stakeholders on board, including Hurriyat, which is an important stakeholder,” he said.
BJP’s Rafiq Wani said that they sought amnesty for stone pelters “in special cases” and creation of employment opportunities for a sustainable engagement of the youth.

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