SRINAGAR, Nov 6: Amid a separatist boycott, Dineshwar Sharma, the Centre’s Interlocutor, kick started his visit today and met representatives of about half-a-dozen apolitical organisations at Hari Niwas here.
Those who met Sharma at the Hari Niwas State Guest House on Gupkar Road included representatives of tribal Gujjar and Bakerwal organisations, tour and travel operators, shikara owners, fruit and saffron growers and artisans.
Immediately after his arrival in Srinagar on 5 day visit to the State, Sharma, who has a Cabinet Secretary rank and has been given Z security, drove in an SUV to the Guest House.
The delegation members highlighted their problems during their meeting with Sharma who listened to them “patiently”.
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No representative of any political party called on him on the first day of his five-day stay in the State to start the multi-layered dialogue process.
The opposition National Conference said they were yet to receive any invitation from Sharma.
He is scheduled to stay in the Valley for three days to meet political parties, socio-cultural organisations, individuals and opinion makers before moving to Jammu.
Separatist leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yaseen Malik have jointly declined to meet the Interlocutor, calling his appointment a time-buying tactic “adopted under international pressure and regional compulsions”.
Sources in the separatist camp said the officials have made attempts to persuade Geelani to meet Sharma.
Former Chief Minister and National Conference leader Dr Farooq Abdullah had said yesterday that he did not expect much from the new process.
Prominent trade bodies in the Kashmir valley stayed away from meeting the Interlocutor saying that the previous exercise of Interlocutors and their reports proved futile and did not yield any outcome.
Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI), Federation Chamber of Industries Kashmir (FCIK), Houseboat Owners Association of Kashmir (HBOAK) and Kashmir Hotel and Restaurant Owners’ Federation (KHAROF) refused to meet Sharma despite invitation from the divisional administration.
Javed Tenga of KCCI said they got a telephone call from divisional administration about meeting Sharma.
“KCCI decided not to meet him as earlier Interlocutors were meaningless and without any outcome,” he said.
House Boat Owners Association of Kashmir and Kashmir Hotel and Restaurant Owners’ Federation also didn’t meet Sharma.
Sharma is scheduled to meet CPI (M) leader and MLA Kulgam M Y Tarigami on November 8. Tarigami along with legislator, People’s Democratic Front (PDF) chief Hakeem Yasin and former Minister and Democratic Party Nationalist (DPN) G H Mir will meet Sharma on November 8 at Tarigami’s residence.
Around two dozen delegations of sports, trade, civil Society, Imams, Advocates, travel and from Business community are meeting Sharma tomorrow.