Despite the “boycott call” given by separatists not to meet him, the Centre’s interlocutor to Jammu and Kashmir, Dineshwar Sharma, has conveyed to the Huriyat Conference leadership through “some channels of communication” that he will “try sincerely to look for ways and means for a sustained and meaningful dialogue for permanent peace in Jammu & Kashmir”. Sharma has conveyed that he has a free hand to have talks without any strings attached and told the media that he would try his best “to bring all separatists on board in meaningful Srinagar-Delhi talks”. Sources said that the 42 delegations Sharma met in Kashmir valley, including youths and some NGOs, apprised him of the “dismal human rights situation” and suggested an “unconditional dialogue” with the Hurriyat. However, prominent civil society members, the Kashmir Bar Association, academicians and intellectuals stayed away from meeting him. A group of youths from downtown Srinagar met Sharma in a guest house in Srinagar. The meet was arranged by divisional commissioner, Kashmir, Baseer Ahmad Khan, who also arranged all other delegations in Kashmir for Sharma.
Sensing the impact of the “boycott call’ given by the separatists not to meet him, Sharma dropped in at the residence of former Chief Minister and National Conference (NC) working president Omar Abdullah and held a detailed meeting with him at his Gupkar Road residence. The NC and Omar Abdullah’s father, Farooq Abdullah have slammed the Centre for “wasting the time of the Kashmiris” by sending interlocutors. Omar Abdullah was quick to tweet that he met Sharma in his personal capacity. Omar Abdullah said that the Centre, especially the PMO, has undermined Sharma’s mandate to hold a broad-based dialogue in Kashmir. Sharma met former Union Minister and Congress leader Saifuddin Soz. Soz told The Sunday Guardian that he told Sharma that he should start from where other groups and interlocutors have left. He said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should take Parliament into confidence and announce a road map for a Kashmir solution from there. Farooq Abdullah told this newspaper that successive governments in Delhi have only deceived the people of Jammu & Kashmir. “This is a joke with the people of Kashmir. What talks will he hold when PM Modi has called even the autonomy seekers the enemies of the country? This is an eyewash as the BJP and RSS are busy hatching conspiracies against the special status of J&K,” Farooq Abdullah said.