Hear one and all, Vohra tells Sharma
JAMMU, Nov 9: Centre Government’s Special Representative on Jammu and Kashmir, Dineshwar Sharma today had review of wide ranging issues in separate meetings with Governor NN Vohra, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and Deputy Chief Minister Dr Nirmal Singh as he reached here on fourth day of his maiden visit to the State after being designated as Interlocutor by the Union Home Ministry. He also had review of J&K’s security, financial situation and various other aspects in his meeting with Chief Secretary BB Vyas and DGP Dr SP Vaid.
Sharma will be meeting large number of delegations here tomorrow before returning to New Delhi on Saturday morning.
Sources said Sharma drove down to Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s official residence here this evening and had half an hour long meeting with her discussing various aspects of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir including the feedback he obtained from large number of delegations that called on him in Srinagar during three and half days stay there.
Sources said the Chief Minister was reported to have given detailed feedback on Jammu and Kashmir situation including ways and means to resolve the issues politically during her first detailed meeting with Sharma, who was designated as Special Representative of the Centre on J&K by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on October 23.
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Dineshwar had paid courtesy call to Mehbooba in New Delhi earlier but in today’s meeting, the Chief Minister, who also happened to be the president of People’s Democratic Party, the largest political party in the Legislature, briefed him on the issues that required to be addressed by the Centre Government speedily for restoration of peace and normalcy in the Kashmir valley.
Mehbooba, a strong votary of dialogue, is reported to have listed series of measures that the Centre Government can take on the advice of the Special Representative, both in short and long terms, for peace in the State.
Sources said Dineshwar Sharma had an hour long meeting with Governor NN Vohra at the Raj Bhawan tonight and got his feedback on the situation in all three regions of the State including disturbances in the Kashmir valley and steps needed for restoration of peace.
Vohra, who has been Governor of the State for past nine and a half years now, reportedly mentioned series of steps already initiated by the Centre and State Governments and more needed to be done for peace in the Valley.
This was Dineshwar’s first meeting with Vohra in J&K though he had called on the Governor in New Delhi earlier.
Sharma informed the Governor about his talks with various individuals and groups in the Valley and major concerns which had been voiced by those he had met on his first visit to Kashmir.
The Governor told Sharma that notwithstanding any initial reservations in some groups, he must sustain dialogue and hear one and all, particularly elements of the society, who apparently held contrary convictions.
Before departing for Jammu from Srinagar, the Interlocutor also called on Deputy Chief Minister and BJP veteran Dr Nirmal Singh at his residence.
Dr Singh said Sharma has met many “real stakeholders’’ in Jammu and Kashmir during his visit in Srinagar saying it was the common man, who has major stakes in peace.
“Number of stakeholders have met the Centre’s Special Representative in Kashmir. More will also come forward for the talks during his future visits,’’ Nirmal Singh said, adding that Sharma has been meeting the people with an open mind and, hopefully, he would achieve breakthrough in the talks.
Chief Secretary BB Vyas and Director General of Police Dr SP Vaid called on the Special Representative at the Guest House here and briefed him on security situation, developmental aspects and other related issues in the State. They reportedly mentioned the State Government’s expectations from the Government of India on developmental issues and security front.
According to sources, the two officers were reported to have given detailed view of security situation in the State including borders and hinterland and steps being taken by the Government to address issues of the people.
The BJP delegation led by State president Sat Sharma ‘CA’ also met the Interlocutor this evening and apprised him of their view point on situation prevailing in Jammu and Kashmir. They stressed that the State Government should ensure equal treatment in development and other issues to all three regions including Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh saying the regions were equal stakeholders.
The BJP leaders welcomed the Centre Government’s bold step in conducting raids on separatists and others to choke hawala funding to terrorists and separatists for fuelling terrorism and unrest in the Kashmir valley and other parts of the State saying such steps have broken backbone of the militancy, leading to sharp reduction in the incidents of terrorism and stone pelting.
The BJP delegation said Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) should continue in Jammu and Kashmir as situation was not conducive to revoke it. The party called for immediate deportation of Rohingyas to their country Myanmar from Jammu saying they have become security threat in the State. They called for dignified return of Kashmiri Pandits to the Valley and providing them all facilities till conducive atmosphere was created for their return. They also demanded safety, protection and facilities for minorities living in Kashmir.
The BJP delegation led by Sat Sharma comprised Shamsher Singh Manhas, MP, Ashok Khajuria, MLC, Sunil Sethi, Brig Anil Gupta, Pawan Khajuria, Harinder Gupta and Arun Gupta.
Tomorrow, Dineshwar Sharma will meet delegations of PDP, Independent MLA Pawan Gupta, National Panthers Party, Nationalist Congress Party, University Professors and Institute of Public Opinion, Sharnarathi Action Committee, OBC Mahasabha, Chhamb Displaced Persons of 1965 and 1971, Pahari Speaking Advocate Forum, Press Club Jammu, Jammu West Assembly Movement, All J&K Transport Welfare Association, Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Jammu Bar Association, Chamber of Traders Federation, Federation of Industries, Paryatan Vikas Mandal, All Jammu Hotels and Lodges Association, Jammu, Hotel, Restaurant and Bar Association, Jammu, Tourism Federation of Jammu and Shri Amarnath Ji Yatra Welfare Society, Doda and Talwara Reasi migrants, Kashmiri migrants, Kashmiri migrants, Panun Kashmir, Delegation of J&K PoJK 1947 refugees, West Pakistani Refugee Action Committee, All Jammu Civil Society Forum (Dogra Sadar Sabha), Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Rashtriya Gurjar Manch, Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, J&K Sikh Council, Jammu Muslim Front/Muslim Democratic Front and All J&K Gujjar Bakerwal Conference.
Meanwhile, from the necessity of talking to Hurriyat separatists to appointing a Tehsildar, Dineshwar Sharma heard it all during his visit to the Valley, his first since being appointed the Centre’s point person on Jammu and Kashmir last month.
The former Intelligence Bureau chief, who had reached Srinagar on Monday, was flooded with suggestions and requests, ranging from the serious to the mundane, sources said.
Many of those who met him stressed the need to talk to separatist groups, including the Hurriyat Conference, a separatist conglomerate comprising moderate and hardline factions.
Some of the groups, especially from downtown Srinagar, said he must engage in discussions with separatists to make his mission successful.
Sharma had told reporters here yesterday that he would try his best to meet the Hurriyat leaders when he visited the State next.
The groups, comprising mainly youths, emphasized that meeting political leaders from mainstream political parties may a necessity but those favouring separatist ideology should not be ignored, officials said.
The Centre’s Special Representative on Kashmir also met a group of youngsters, who termed themselves ‘children of conflict’ and wanted the rights and opportunities available to students in other States.
The group spoke about lack of opportunities in the State and said they are viewed with suspicion whenever they venture out of the Valley, officials disclosed.
Some of the delegations that met Sharma highlighted lack of governance and the non-implementation of various Central Government schemes in the State.
Groups of migrants — both Muslims and Hindus — travelled all the way from Jammu to Srinagar to raise their demand for hiking the monthly relief amount, officials said.
In a surprise demand, some delegations demanded that television channels be reined in as they were instrumental in vitiating the atmosphere in the Valley, deepening the divide and alienating people of this region from rest of the country.
Then there was a group from central Kashmir’s Budgam that demanded a Tehsildar. The State Government, they said, had declared their area a tehsil three years ago but failed to appoint a Tehsildar.
Sharma, officials said, assured them that their problems would be looked into by the State Government.
According to one official, the youth were at least willing to converse with Sharma and he was given a “deep historical background” into issues facing the present generation for whom violence is par for the course.
There were also those who could not meet Sharma.
Like the “Rahul Gandhi fan club”, which came to Hari Niwas, the State Guest House near the Dal Lake where Sharma was meeting the delegations, but were turned away by the authorities.