Kashmir talks begin, 32 delegations meet interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma
Srinagar : Over 30 delegations from various organizations and political parties in Jammu and Kashmir have called on Dineshwar Sharma, the special representative appointed by the Central government, so far, officials said on Tuesday.
Officials said since Sharma arrived in Srinagar on Monday to start a sustained, multi-layered dialogue in the state, 32 delegations have called on him at the Hari Niwas state guest house.
Prominent among those who called on Sharma on Tuesday included Waheed Parra, youth leader of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, Sanjay Saraf of the Janata Dal-United, delegations of erstwhile Panchayat members, some local youth delegations and those of the Sikh community in the Valley.
Commenting on his meeting with Sharma, Parra said: "This is a meaningful dialogue process because the Central government has owned and institutionalized this process."
Touseef Raina of the Global Youth Foundation said he raised issues related to youth with Sharma because the local youth are the real stakeholders who should be taken into confidence.
Another delegation leader, Abida of NGO JK Seva that called on Sharma, said that they raised women-related issues.
Saifullah of the JK Human Welfare Association, which represents former militants, said: "We spoke to him in a good atmosphere and told him that India, Pakistan and Kashmiris must be brought on the table to solve the Kashmir issue."
Shafiq Mir, chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Former Panchayat Members Association, said: "Democratic institutions are not strong in Kashmir. We put forward ground level problems of people since the panchayats form a bridge between state and people.
"We demanded that the state Panchayati Act should be strengthened. We have also raised the issue of killings of Panchayat members in the Valley."
Sharma is likely to meet Yusuf Tarigami of the CPI-M, Ghulam Hassan Mir and Hakim Yaseen, three prominent opposition mainstream leaders on Wednesday before concluding his three-day visit to the Valley.