Sharma meets J&K youth groups as big names stay away

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 08 Nov 2017 08:53:31



THE big names stayed away but the Centre’s special representative on Kashmir Dineshwar Sharma held a series of meetings with civil society and youth groups on Tuesday, day two of his visit to the Valley.
Over 30 delegations from various organisations and political parties in Jammu and Kashmir have called on Dineshwar Sharma, the special representative appointed by the Central Government, so far.

Sharma, the former Director of the Intelligence Bureau who is on a five-day visit to the State, is expected to meet political leaders here on Wednesday as part of efforts to talk to various stakeholders and find lasting peace in Jammu and Kashmir. He is spending three days in the Kashmir Valley and two days in Jammu, where he will hold talks with Governor N N Vohra, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and various delegations.

All separatist parties, including both factions of the Hurriyat Conference and the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) have ruled out engagement with Sharma, saying his appointment is only a time buying tactic. However, away from the media glare, Sharma was busy meeting delegations arranged by Kashmir Divisional Commissioner Baseer Khan at the heavily-fortified Hari Niwas state guest house near the Dal Lake.

Officials privy to the parleys said Sharma’s engagements have so far been aimed at assessing the feelings of local residents, who have suffered the most in the decades of violence in the Valley.

A PDP youth leader, a delegation of youths from downtown Srinagar, a Sikh group and traders were amongst those who have met Sharma.
Waheed Para, PDP youth leader and secretary Jammu and Kashmir Sports Council, discussed problems faced by the youth and steps needed to be taken by the Centre to wean students and youth away from the cycle of violence, officials said.

Para later told PTI that steps should be taken to ensure that the present process of dialogue gives dignity to people of the State.
“There is anger and alienation on the ground because of the uncertainty. This needs to be addressed,” Para said.
Sharma, he said, should reach out to those who have for years suffered because of the violence. “Their wounds should be nursed as soon as possible.”

Talks, he said, should be held with every shade of opinion.
A group of youth from downtown Srinagar met Sharma quietly last night and discussed their problems. Some suggested that the presence of security personnel should be reduced once the situation attains some sense of normalcy. While major trade associations like the Kashmir Economic Alliance and the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry have refrained from meeting Sharma, smaller trade bodies from various districts quietly called on him, officials said.

They discussed problems, including taxation related issues, repayment of bank loans and difficulties in transporting of fruits. Issues regarding lack of employment opportunities and basic amenities, nepotism and the non-implementation of many central policies were also raised.