Peace Initiative: Interlocutor Sharma recommended amnesty, GoI obliged

Peace Initiative: Interlocutor Sharma recommended amnesty, GoI obliged

Special Correspondent
Srinagar, Nov 22: Decision of the Government of India to give amnesty to first time offenders, is a move aimed at taking the reconciliation process further and it’s a hint that GoI is keen to act on the recommendations of the newly appointed Kashmir interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma.
Sources told Precious Kashmir that Sharma during his meeting with the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi had suggested that the cases against the youth involved in the protests during 2016 unrest, which broke out in the Valley after the killing of Hizbul-Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, should be relooked into and they should be given a chance to live a normal life.
Insiders revealed that GoI wants to empower Dineshwar Sharma and wants to drive home a point that New Delhi is serious about acting on his recommendations. “This is an indication that if people meet Sharma they can put forth their grievances and demands and these would be looked into. It’s an indication that Sharma has been given all the powers” they added.
A Kashmir watcher said that Sharma is again visiting Kashmir and GoI’s this gesture would definitely encourage more and more people to meet him. “To set the ball rolling the GoI should set the political prisoners free it would be a good sign and would help in restoring the lost faith of the masses,” he added.
On his first visit to Kashmir Sharma met around 65 delegations, including political leaders, religious leaders and other civil society members and different NGOs. But the prominent trade and business bodies refused to meet him while Hurriyat Conference, considered as key stakeholder of the Kashmir issue refused to hold talks with Sharma.
Sharma while talking to a local news agency KNS over phone said that he would be visiting the state from 24th of this month. “The central government has asked the state government to grant amnesty to youth who are first time offenders.”
“I think the MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs) has formally announced something and they are advising the state government,” Sharma said.
He said that he had recommended suspension of cases against the first time stone-pelters.
Over his meeting with Hurriyat leaders on his second visit, Sharma said, “I will definitely try to meet them. Let me see how they respond.”
An analyst said that it’s for the first time in many years that GoI has acted on the suggestion of any interlocutor. “The erstwhile Congress led UPA government did not pay any heed towards the suggestions which were given by the three member panel of interlocutors appointed by it in 2010. The report submitted by the panel comprising Daleep Padgaonkar, Radha Kumar and M M Ansari was dumped by the then government. The GoI this time around would have to ensure that recommendations made by Sharma are taken seriously so that the faith of the people on the process is restored,” he added.