Editorial: Interlocutor Sharma’s third innings 

Srinagar: It’s severe winter in Kashmir but the severity of winter has had least effect on the efforts of the centre’s new interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma who has once again arrived in Kashmir to play his third innings.

This time around Sharma is playing on a much milder pitch of North Kashmir which has been comparatively calmer compared to the southern parts of the Valley and some parts of Srinagar city.

Sharma has this time decided to keep media at bay and has decided not to divulge any details of his interactions and his plans with whatsoever group or individuals he meets during his visit. He made it clear during his visit to Kupwara on Monday that he will be no longer making his plans public or providing any details about the interactions he has had with various groups.

The interlocutors frequent visits to the state has given some positive vibes about his sincerity towards the mission he has been handed over. But at the same time he also needs to provide some assurance to the people of the state about his efforts in bringing some sanity to the deteriorating situation in the Valley.

No doubt various groups are coming forward to meet the interlocutor but the groups have been raising issues of administrative nature, something that the state government is competent enough to do at its own level.

Though, the recommendations Sharma put forth for granting amnesty to around 4500 first-time stone pelters has had some effect on the ground but these measures are too little and too late if we assess the situation that is prevailing in the Valley since the past two years now.

What the interlocutor needs to come clear on is that he is here for a reason and the reason is more political in nature and this is where he needs to walk an extra mile.

Resolving administrative grievances of the various interest groups will hardly make any difference and on the contrary it only detracts from the authority of the state government to take such decisions.

So while amnesty to youth is welcome, people didn’t expect the measure to be announced on the urging of the interlocutor. Kashmir certainly expected him to play a role in the release of the political prisoners, something Sharma has declined to do. So here is the difference. While the former relates to the governance of the state, the latter is connected to the lingering political conflict over the state.  

The interlocutor needs a large spread out canvas to make his ideas work and time is ripe for New Delhi to get the momentum going and prepare a ground for Sharma to offer some viable and long term measures to establish peace and political stability in the region.


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