SRINAGAR: The central government’s appointed interlocutor on Kashmir, Dineshwar Sharma, would be arriving on third visit to the State on December 25 to carry forward the interlocution process.
“I will be visiting Jammu and Kashmir from Monday,” Sharma told New Indian Express on phone.
It would be his third visit to the State after being appointed as interlocutor by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on October 23 this year for holding sustained dialogue with stakeholders in J&K.
Sharma said he would first visit Srinagar and then Jammu (winter capital of the State) to interact with the delegations and individuals.
Asked how many delegations he would meet in Srinagar, he said, “It would be decided there only”.
Sharma would be meeting number of delegations, youth groups and individuals during his visit to the Valley.
It remains to be seen whether the interlocutor’s visit generates political heat in the Valley, which is presently under grip of intense cold, and meets separatists, civil society members and traders during his stay in Kashmir.
The top separatist leaders, civil society members and traders in Kashmir have refused to meet the interlocutor during his previous two visits to the State.
Separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik have termed the interlocution process as “time buying tactics” by New Delhi.
However, senior separatist leader Prof Abdul Gani Bhat, who is executive member of moderate faction of Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz defied the separatists diktat and reportedly met interlocutor at his residence in Srinagar on November 27 during Sharma’s second visit to the State.
Bhat’s meeting with Sharma caused split in his party and Mirwaiz also sought explanation from him for defying him and meeting the interlocutor.
The opposition National Conference leaders have also not met Sharma during his two previous visits to the State.
Sharma is credited for the recent amnesty announced by J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to 4237 first time stone pelters in Kashmir.
It was only after recommendation of interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma and advice from Union Ministry Home Affair that the State government granted amnesty to first time offenders in the Valley.
The granting of amnesty to first time stone pelters has generated hope that more confidence building measures including release of detainees may be announced in the coming days.
A political analyst, Aadil Ahmad, said recommending amnesty to youth in Kashmir and more such measures would give credibility to the interlocution process.
“These measures may make ground conducive for talks between interlocutor and separatist leaders,” he said.