Meets 14 delegations amid tight security
The Government of India’s (GoI) Interlocutor, Dineshwar Sharma, Sunday reached out to the people of the Pulwama-the district which remained epicentre of protests after killing of HM militant commander, Burhan Muzafar Wani, last year and subsequently during anti-militancy operations this year.
Sharma paid his maiden visit to Pulwama district in South Kashmir after being appointed as special representative by GoI last month. The visit was
seen important as the area was the epicentre in last year's unrest in the Valley which was triggered after the killing of Burhan Wani.
According to sources Sharma met 14 delegations in Pulwama. Some of the delegations which met the 61-year-old Sharma include Unemployed Youth Group, Progressive Horticulturist, Civil Society Pulwama, Women Empowerment Group, Saffron Cultivators group, Social Works Group, Panjran Welfare Committee and Kakapora Welfare Committee.
The delegations comprised several political organizations, most of whom comprised of youth. Three women delegations also met him at the Circuit House in Deputy Commissioner’s office which had been sealed since early morning. The road outside DC office was completely put out of bounds for the general public as the forces had blocked the “entry and exit points with mobile armoured bunkers’’ and no one was being allowed to move through that area while the situation in rest of Pulwama town was normal.
The government forces had sealed and manned every nook and corner of the one kilometre stretch of Pulwama-Shopian road from General Post Office to DC Office and Jail Complex, according to local sources. Pulwama is one of the most volatile regions of the Kashmir valley and is frequented with militancy related incidents. During last year’s uprising, south Kashmir was also the epicentre for anti-India protest rallies.
An all-girls delegation which met Sharma urged him to improve the education sector and “create avenues for employment in the state.” Some of the youth delegations requested Sharma for an early and impartial probe into the arrest of photojournalist Kamran Yousuf by NIA, an official said. He said Sharma was likely to visit Anantnag district in South Kashmir tomorrow.
The delegations also highlighted that the national media, especially electronic media, was portraying Kashmir in bad light and urged him to ensure immediate end to this biased coverage. Some of the groups also claimed excesses by the government forces.
Earlier, the Centre's special envoy, visited Kashmiri Pandit camps in Jammu. He visited Jagti area, the largest township of the displaced Kashmiri Pandits and met people to understand their problems. Sharma, former Director Intelligence Bureau, was appointed as the Centre's interlocutor on October 23 to hold talks with all stakeholders in an effort to find lasting peace in parts of Kashmir.
After his first visit to Kashmir Valley, Sharma suggested that cases against 4,500 youths involved in stone pelting for the first time be dropped in a bid to win hearts. Over 11,500 cases against stone pelters have been registered since July last year following Wani's death. Of these, over 4,500 youths were first-time stone pelters.
In a bid to resolve the Valley's electricity crisis, especially during winters, Sharma also took the initiative of providing additional 300 MW to Kashmir this year.