The Centre’s Special Representative Dineshwar Sharma on Monday visited the border district of Kupwara in Jammu and Kashmir, official sources said. It is the third visit of Sharma — a former head of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) — to the state after his appointment by the Centre to start a multilayered, sustained dialogue to address the Kashmir problem. After landing in Srinagar, Sharma went in a cavalcade to Kupwara district where, authorities said, around 40 delegations were scheduled to meet him at the Kupwara Dak Bungalow. Local journalists said authorities did not allow them to enter the Dak Bungalow where Sharma’s meetings were being held.
“Delegations from border towns of Machil and Karnah are also meeting the Special Representative during his visit,” informed sources said here. A 1979-batch former Indian Police Service officer, Sharma is believed to have a clear understanding of the problems faced by the people in Kashmir, thanks to his stint in the IB.
He has so far not directly engaged with separatist leaders, although some media reports said Sharma met senior separatist leader Abdul Gani Bhat during his last visit to the Valley. Bhat, however, denied the reports. Senior separatist leaders, including Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik have dismissed the possibility of engaging in a dialogue with Sharma, describing the entire process as an “eyewash by the Indian government”.