Centre’s Spl Rep hopes for peaceful summer in Valley
New Delhi, Mar 11: Centre's special representative for talks on Kashmir Dineshwar Sharma today said he was "pained" by the cycle of violence in the Valley but was hopeful of a peaceful summer this year as many people, especially the youth, had assured him of working as “peace ambassadors” in the state.
Ahead of his maiden visit to Leh and Kargil, Sharma said the youth will work for peace as they have understood that all problems can be addressed only when there is peace.
"They (youth) , I am sure will assume the role of ambassadors of peace,” Sharma told PTI in response to a question on recent incidents of violence in the Kashmir Valley.
"Although I am pained by repeated cycle of violence in Kashmir, I am quite hopeful of a peaceful summer this year. I have full faith in people of Jammu and Kashmir, particularly the youth," he said ahead of his visit to the Valley which would be his sixth since taking up the assignment of being the Centre's special representative in October last year.
Sharma, a former Intelligence Bureau Chief (IB) chief, seemed upset with the recent flare-up of violence in the Valley.
"While I have been advising security forces to exercise utmost restraint, there are some stray incidents which will also end immediately," he said.
He made it clear that the “security personnel in the Kashmir Valley were doing exemplary work in countering terrorism actively sponsored from across the border”.
While referring to his visit to Shopian in south Kashmir late last month, he said, "People have their grievances which need to be addressed.
"During my interaction, I found people bitter but, while saying this, I would like to make it clear that their wounds can be nursed. There is hope," Sharma, who has made five trips to the Valley after his appointment, said.
He said violence begot violence and any such disturbance now would hit the forthcoming tourist season.
"Many households run on tourism industry. A shikarawala, houseboat, taxi driver, hotels and what not. They are pinning their hopes on this season and no right minded person would like to trample upon the dreams of common man," he said.
Sharma said people should not fall prey to “false propaganda being orchestrated by those with vested interests from across the border”.
“It is time for people in Kashmir to understand this, it is time for Kashmiri people to allow nursing of their wounds," he opined.
In response to a question about his meetings with separatists, Sharma said, "My doors are open. Anyone who feels the pain of an ordinary Kashmiri will choose the negotiating table instead of stone or a bullet. The same applies to separatists leaders in the Valley. Hope they will listen to their inner voice someday."
Sharma, who will be on a four-day visit to Leh and Kargil from today, has been frequently visiting Kashmir and has not confined himself to Srinagar but toured other parts of the Valley, including the Shopian and Pulwama districts in south Kashmir as well as the frontier district of Kupwara and Baramulla in north Kashmir.
The slew of measures doled out on Sharma’s intervention included the release of youths who were booked for stone pelting in 2016-17, rehabilitation policy and several other steps for the youth such as promotion of sports activities.