Dineshwar Sharma, the Centre’s representative for Kashmir talks, on Friday ruled out the release of political prisoners from jail and house arrest in the state. “Humey nahin lagta hai ki aisa kuch hai (I do not think that there is any such thing),” Sharma said when asked about the release of political prisoners in view of the state government beginning the process of withdrawing cases against first-time stone-pelters.
Sharma began his second visit to Jammu and Kashmir by visiting migrant Kashmiri Pandits in Jagti on the outskirts of Jammu city. He witnessed noisy scenes as some migrants accused the government machinery of allowing only political delegations to meet him.
“We migrated in the 1990s. After staying in camps for years, we were shifted by the government to so-called two-room tenements in Jagti,’’ said Shadi Lal Pandita, president of Jagti Tenement Committee and Soan Kashmir Front. “We wanted to tell the interlocutor about our problems, but the administration fixed his meetings only with pro-government delegations.”
Bushan Lal Bhat, a social worker living in Jagti, said, “We do not want interference by political parties. We are the real sufferers.” Hearing the ruckus, Sharma came out in the waiting hall and assured the agitators that he would meet them. Later, they were allowed to meet him.
Trouble erupted after delegations owing allegiance to minority cells of the BJP, PDP and National Conference met Sharma one by one while the migrant Pandits waited for their turn.
Nearly a dozen Kashmiri Pandit delegations called on Sharma. All of them sought return and rehabilitation of their community members in the Valley. While most of them wanted a separate township, Panun Kashmir asked for creation of a homeland with Union territory status for them. The opposition NC delegation wanted settlement of Kashmiri Pandits in clusters. Sharma is likely to visit Talwara near Reasi to meet migrants from Jammu on Saturday.