Interlocutor on 1st visit to Ladakh

Dineshwar Sharma with a delegation in Leh on Sunday. —Excelsior/Morup Stanzin
Dineshwar Sharma with a delegation in Leh on Sunday. —Excelsior/Morup Stanzin

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Mar 11: Centre’s Special Representative on Kashmir, Dineshwar Sharma today reached Leh on maiden-four day visit to mountain-locked Leh and Kargil districts of Ladakh region and met 18 delegations of various political parties and organizations in Leh on Day 1 of his visit. Click here to watch video
This is Sharma’s first visit to Ladakh though he has paid many visits to Jammu and Kashmir regions, after being appointed as Centre Government’s Interlocutor on Jammu and Kashmir in October 2017 by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.
Tomorrow, Sharma will visit Kargil but return to Leh on March 13. He would leave for New Delhi on March 14. He hasn’t included any part of Jammu and Kashmir regions during his visit to Ladakh.
Dineshwar Sharma met BJP MP from Ladakh Thupstan Chhewang, former Minister and Congress MLA from Leh, Nawang Rigzin Jora, Chief Executive Councilor of Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Leh, Dorjey Motup and various organizations including BJP, Congress, Leh Buddhist Association (LBA), Muslim Coordination Committee, border residents of Demchok and Turtuk and others and received memorandums from them, listing their demands.
Dineshwar assured the people that Ladakh has equal significance for him as two other regions of the State including Jammu and Kashmir and that he would try to address the problems raised by them through Centre and State Governments.
Earlier before reaching Leh, Dineshwar Sharma said he was “pained” by the cycle of violence in the Valley but hopeful of a peaceful summer this year as many people, especially the youth, had assured him of working as peace ambassadors in the State.
PTI adds:-
Ahead of his maiden visit to Leh and Kargil, Sharma said the youth will work for peace as they have understood that all problems can be addressed only when there is peace.
“I am sure the youth will assume the role of ambassadors of peace,” Sharma said.
“Although I am pained by repeated cycle of violence in Kashmir, I am quite hopeful of a peaceful summer this year. I have full faith in people of Jammu and Kashmir particularly the youth,” he said ahead of his visit to the Valley which would be his sixth since taking up the assignment of being the Centre’s special representative in October last year.
Sharma, a former Intelligence Bureau chief, seemed upset with the recent violence flare-up in the Valley.
“While I have been advising security forces to exercise utmost restraint, there are some stray incidents which will also end immediately,” he said.
Dineshwar made it clear that the security personnel in the Kashmir valley were doing exemplary work in countering terrorism actively sponsored from across the border.
While referring to his visit to Shopian in South Kashmir late last month, he said, “People have their grievances which need to be addressed.
“During my interaction, I found people bitter but, while saying this, I would like to make it clear that their wounds can be nursed. There is hope,” Sharma, who has made five trips to the Valley after his appointment, said.
He said violence begot violence and any such disturbance now would hit the forthcoming tourist season.
“Many households run on tourism industry. A shikarawala, houseboat, taxi driver, hotels and what not. They are pinning their hopes on this season and no right minded person would like to trample upon the dreams of common man,” he said.
Sharma said people should not fall prey to false propaganda being orchestrated by those with vested interests from across the border.
“It is time for people in Kashmir to understand this, it is time for Kashmiri people to allow nursing of their wounds,” he opined.
Sharma said, “My doors are open. Anyone who feels the pain of an ordinary Kashmiri will choose the negotiating table instead of stone or a bullet. The same applies to separatist leaders in the Valley. Hope they will listen to their inner voice someday.”
Sharma has been frequently visiting Kashmir and has not confined himself to Srinagar but toured other parts of the Valley, including the Shopian and Pulwama districts in South Kashmir as well as the frontier district of Kupwara and Baramulla in North Kashmir — that are considered the hotbed of militancy.
The slew of measures doled out by Sharma included the release of youths who were booked for stone pelting in 2016-17, rehabilitation policy and several other steps for the youth such as promotion to sports activities.