SRINAGAR, Nov 7: Over 30 delegations from various political parties and Civil Society today called on Dineshwar Sharma, the Interlocutor appointed by the Central Government on Jammu and Kashmir on the second day of his three day visit.
Sharma arrived here yesterday to start a sustained, multi-layered dialogue in the State. So far, 32 delegations have called on him at the Hari Niwas State Guest House.
Prominent among those who called on Sharma today included Waheed Parra, youth leader of the ruling People’s Democratic Party, Sanjay Saraf of the Janata Dal-United, delegations of erstwhile Panchayat members, some local youth delegations and those of the Sikh community in the Valley.
Commenting on his meeting with Sharma, Parra said: “This is a meaningful dialogue process because the Central Government has owned and institutionalized this process.”
All Parties Sikh Coordination Committee delegation led by its Chairman, Jagmohan Singh Raina, met Sharma and urged him for implementation of Minority Status in J&K as per norms of the Minority Commission of India.
“We have met many Interlocutors in the past with the hope that someone somewhere may do something for the Sikh minority but unfortunately all previous reports are gathering dust, which as a result has dashed our hopes”, Raina told Sharma.
Raina told Sharma that Centre’s wrong policies towards the State are leading to alienation. “The controversy over Article 35A and voices raised for abrogation of Article 370 are adding fuel to the fire”, he told Sharma. He urged Sharma that he should bring on board separatists and leaders of the all the three regions on board for meaningful dialogue.
A delegation of Shina Community from Gurez led by its chairman Abdul Jabbar Chakkat and General Secretary Mohammad Ramzan Khan met Sharma and demanded political settlement of J&K issue. “It is impressed upon your good-self to involve Government of Pakistan, Civil Societies from India , Pakistan and Jammu & Kashmir plus political parties of Jammu & Kashmir including Hurriyat and other similar groups for a meaningful dialogue”, a memorandum presented by them to Sharma read.
“We believe all the traditional routes especially the Silk Route via Bandipora and Gurez be thrown open. To make this happen, it is necessary to involve Government of Pakistan for further deliberations”, the memorandum further read.
They told him that Shina language/culture is at the brink of extinction and this needs to be revived.
They also raised the issue of construction of Tunnel from Bandipora to Gurez, connecting Drass and Mushkoh valley with Gurez.
They also raised the issue of removing barbed wire around villages in Gurez and
ST status to Shina community living in Kangan.
Touseef Raina of the Global Youth Foundation said he raised issues related to youth with Sharma because the local youth are the real stakeholders who should be taken into confidence.
Another delegation leader, Abida of NGO JK Seva that called on Sharma, said that they raised women-related issues.
Saifullah of the JK Human Welfare Association, which represents former militants, said: “We spoke to him in a good atmosphere and told him that India, Pakistan and Kashmiris must be brought on the table to solve the Kashmir issue.”
Shafiq Mir, chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Former Panchayat Members Association, said: “Democratic institutions are not strong in Kashmir. We put forward ground level problems of people since the Panchayats form a bridge between State and people.
“We demanded that the State Panchayati Act should be strengthened. We have also raised the issue of killings of Panchayat members in the Valley.”
Sharma is likely to meet Yusuf Tarigami of the CPI-M, Ghulam Hassan Mir and Hakim Yaseen, three prominent opposition mainstream leaders tomorrow (Wednesday) before concluding his three-day visit to the Valley.
The Congress delegation is also meeting Sharma tomorrow while National Conference said that they have not received any invitation for meeting with the Interlocutor so far.