Interlocutor begins 3rd round; reaches Kupwara to hold talks 

SRINAGAR: Centre-appointed interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma has begun his third round of talks in Kashmir, where he had held talks with more than 60 delegations, including students, civil societies and political workers during first two visits.

During the second round, Mr Sharma, former Intelligence Bureau (IB) chief met delegations in south Kashmir. However, separatists, traders and other unions stayed away.

Immediately after his arrival on Monday, he went to Kupwara, where he is expected to meet delegations, amid tight security.

This is Mr Sharma’s third visit to the Valley after being appointed as an interlocutor for Kashmir by the Centre to initiate a meaningful dialogue process with all stakeholders.

The State Government has already withdrawn cases on hundreds of first time stone pelters in the Valley after recommendations by the Centre.

Official sources said that security forces have been deployed in strength in the entire Kupwara district, particularly the main town, to prevent any militant attack or protests.

A number of delegations from across the district are lined up at Dak Bungalow Kupwara to interact with Mr Sharma. They said roads leading to Dak Bungalow were sealed.

However, media was kept away from the venue. Journalists were not allowed near the venue.

The interlocutor had during his maiden visit to the Valley in early November said he would try his level best to bring separatists onboard. However, he could not make any headway as most of trade unions and civil society leaders and separatists stayed away.

But, days before his second visit, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti announced withdrawal of cases against first-time stone-pelters or offenders in the Valley.

The development came after the Centre advised the State Government to withdraw cases against about 4,500 youth, who are first-time offenders or stone-pelters.

The advice was given by the Centre on the recommendations of Mr Sharma, who is trying to woo the people to initiate a dialogue process.

Mr Sharma during his second visit met various delegations in Pulwama, Anantnag and Srinagar from November 26 to November 27.

He also met Governor N N Vohra and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. (AGENCIES)

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