Spl Rep Sharma visits restive Tral, meets delegations
Srinagar, Mar 29: Centre's special envoy for a dialogue on Kashmir Dineshwar Sharma today visited Tral town of south Kashmir, and held talks with a a few delegations of people there.
Amid tight security, Sharma arrived in the town in a helicopter to hold meetings with various delegations that the State government had lined up at the town hall, which also houses the office of Municipal Committee.
The building was turned into an impregnable fortress with government forces’ keeping a strict vigil.
According to reports, the government forces personnel including Army, SOG and paramilitary CRPF were deployed in large numbers to ensure peace in the town. Owing to the massive presence of government forces in the town, majority of the shopkeepers didn’t open up their shops while transport also remained off the roads.
Located 47 km from Srinagar, Tral shot into prominence in 2014 after the rise of Hizbul Muajhideen militant Burhan Wani who was subsequently killed in an encounter in July 2016. The area recorded only 1.53 percent polling during the last parliamentary elections.
Tral is part of Awantipura police district and the area is believed to have some presence of ISIS militants as well.
The Centre's interlocutor was apprised about the security situation in Tral ahead of his visit but that did not deter him from meeting people in the area considered to be the hotbed of militancy.
After his appointment in October last year, Sharma has made several trips to the Kashmir Valley including to areas such as Pulwama, Shopian and Kulgam in south Kashmir which are all considered as breeding grounds of militancy.
"I have to understand the pain and for that I have to meet people in their homes. I have to understand their living condition so that I can improve upon that," Sharma was quoted as saying by PTI.
Sharma said the number of delegates that he met in Tral started the conversation at a very high decibel level but at the end, they were satisfied that he had heard them patiently and assured redressal of their grievances, PTI reported.
While some delegations wanted a playground for children, the others complained of alleged harassment by the Army and security personnel.
"Some wanted that a political solution should be arrived soon so that the Kashmir issue comes to an end. I know I do not have a magic wand in my hand to set everything right but I can always lend a patient ear and try whatever to bring some relief to their daily lives," Sharma said.
He admitted that fear was looming large in Tral, but expressed hope that all-round development was necessary for the area to negate the negative influence of militant and separatist groups.
"You see, Tral is famous for its natural springs. The area can turn around into exotic tourist locations and necessary steps should be taken for that. The fruits of economy should reach the common people in the area. This should be our endeavour and this should be our goal," he said.
Meanwhile, reports said a few delegations that met the interlocutor raised local issues.
A Sikh delegation demanded minority status while a local cricket team ‘Mantaqi Eleven’ from Awantipora, carrying cricketing bats demanded cricket filed for sportspersons.
Another delegation that met Sharma was from Jauvbera area of Awantipora, Pulwama. This delegation raised the issue of land that is occupied by CRPF and Army, a local news agency reported.
It said a Sikh delegation of the Gurudwara Prabandakh Committee Pulwama led by Dr Jogindar Singh Shaan also interacted with Dineshwar Sharma.
According to a local news agency, Dr Jogindar Singh Shaan said that Sharma assured them he will talk to Mehbooba Mufti with regard to minority status issue.
“I categorically told the interlocutor that India is buying time while the need of the hour is to resolve Kashmir issue. I urged Interlocutor to persuade India to talk to Pakistan,” Shaan said.
“I told Dineshwar Sharma that people of Kashmir have lost faith in Indian delegations because Government of India never implements their recommendations,” Shaan said.