SRINAGAR: The central government’s interlocutor on Kashmir, Dineshwar Sharma, on Monday arrived on the third visit to Jammu and Kashmir and visited the border district of Kupwara in north Kashmir, where recently a sumo driver was killed in army firing.
Sharma, the former IB chief, arrived on the third visit of the State today after being appointed as the interlocutor on October 23.
An official said Sharma arrived in Srinagar in the afternoon and drove to border district of Kupwara to meet delegations and individuals.
He said the authorities had made stringent security arrangements in Kupwara for his visit in view of the tension prevailing in the border district after killing of sumo driver by army men during the ambush recently.
Sources said that Sharma interacted with some 20 delegations and individuals during his stay at Dak Bungalow in Kupwara.
They same some respectable citizens, traders, and civil society groups and individuals met the interlocutor and apprised him about their grievances and problems.
Sources said Sharma would be staying for the night in Kupwara and would travel to adjoining Baramulla district tomorrow.
“He would be meeting over two dozen delegations and individuals in Baramulla tomorrow,” they said.
Sharma during his second visit to the State had visited volatile south Kashmir and interacted with youth, elderly citizens and politicians.
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 an executive member of a 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 an explanation from him for defying him and meeting the interlocutor.
Meanwhile, as Sharma arrived in Srinagar today, woman separatist leader and Dukhtaran-e-Millat chairperson Asiya Andrabi and her close aide Fehmeeda soi were released from Central Jail, Srinagar.
The Dukhtaran General Secretary, Nahida Nasreen, said Asiya and Fehmeeda were released from Central Jail, Srinagar today.
Aisya and Fehmeeda were booked under stringent Public Safety Act (PSA) in May this year and lodged at Amphalla jail, Jammu.
However, J&K High Court quashed the PSA against them on August 31 after which they were shifted to central jail, Srinagar.
It is not known whether Asiya and her aide’s release has anything to do with interlocutor’s suggestion or visit but 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 the 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.