Despite snub, Centre's special rep eager to meet J&K separatists

Despite snub, Centre's special rep eager to meet J&K separatists

Despite snub, Centre's special rep eager to meet J&K separatists

Despite snub from separatists, Centre's special representative for Kashmir Dineshwar Sharma on Wednesday said he will try his best to meet Hurriyat leaders.

"I will try my best (to meet Hurriyat leaders)," Sharma told reporters  when asked whether he will "walk the extra mile to talk to them."

Sharma made the remark after meeting lone Communist leader from Kashmir Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami, former minister Ghulam Hassan Mir and independent MLA Hakim Yasin. "I met many people. I wish that peace returns to Kashmir. I will also try to meet Hurriyat," the former head of Intelligence Bureau said.

Separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik have refused to talk to him, calling Sharma's appointment "a new tactic" by New Delhi after it "failed in its muscular approach" in the troubled state.

Earlier, Sharma called on opposition National Conference leader and former chief minister Omar Abdullah at the latter's residence in Srinagar. "Mr Dineshawar Sharma & I met at my residence in Srinagar this morning. We discussed the prevailing situation in the state and also steps that can be taken to make his visits to the state more meaningful," Omar tweeted.

Talking to reporters after the meet, Omar said that Sharma called on him and "asked for my opinion on how to effectively go about the work assigned to him. I hope he will act on my suggestions." Sitting in a guesthouse and waiting for people to come and meet him won't yield results.

Bid for lasting peace

On Monday, Sharma arrived in Srinagar to initiate a "sustained dialogue" with stakeholders in Jammu and Kashmir. He will be travelling to Jammu on Thursday to   hold talks with Governor N N Vohra, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and various delegations.

He was appointed by the Centre as "special representative" on October 23 in a fresh bid to find lasting peace. After his arrival on Monday, Sharma met around 65 delegations which comprised NGOs, trade associations, widows' unions, and other lesser known organisations and parties. However, well known trade and business bodies stayed away from meeting him.