Published: December 25, 2017 10:11 pm
Centre’s special envoy on Kashmir Dineshwar Sharma on Monday, for the first time, visited north Kashmir’s Kupwara district which frequently experiences cross-border tension as it is used by terrorists to infiltrate into the Valley. Sharma’s visit follows his tour of south Kashmir, the epicentre of homegrown militancy. He arrived in Kupwara this afternoon and began his meetings with various delegations, who had lined up at the government house in the frontier district of the Kashmir Valley, officials in Srinagar said.
Among the first to meet Sharma was the family of cab driver Asif Iqbal Bhat, who was allegedly killed by the Army earlier this month during an encounter. The family members, who were called by the district administration to meet Sharma, conveyed their anger over Bhat’s killing.
Bhat was seriously injured after being hit by a bullet in Thandipora in Kralpora area of the Kupwara district and was shifted to a hospital. He later succumbed to his injuries. Police has lodged an FIR in the Police Station Kralpora and an investigation has been launched. However, the Army has maintained that the deceased was caught in a cross-fire between troops and militants.
The other delegations apprised Sharma, the former Director of Intelligence Bureau, about the problems faced by them during heightened tension along the Line of Control or during a cordon off by security forces and search operations carried out by the Army.
Employment, lack of power supply and non-availability of food grains especially during the winter months also figured during the discussions with Sharma.
The Centre’s representative had announced earlier that he will be travelling to the Valley during the harsh winters. Tomorrow he is expected to meet people in Baramulla in north Kashmir. In the last week of November, Shrama, a 1979-batch IPS officer, had met people in Anantnag and Pulwama in south Kashmir.
Shrama is on his third visit to the Kashmir Valley after being appointed as the Centre’s representative for talks with various groups on Kashmir in October this year.