Sharma for release of political prisoners

The Government of India’s (GoIs) interlocutor on Kashmir, Dineshwar Sharma, Wednesday rooted for the release of political prisoners as a confidence building measure. Sharma will continue his dialogue on Kashmir and begin his visit to the state on Friday.
Sharma said around 4500 cases of first-time stone pelters will be revoked.

Former Intelligence Bureau (IB) director said that he will restart a “fresh dialogue.” “Cases against the first time stone pelters will be dropped”. He said that the roughly there were 4500 cases which will be withdrawn.

About the release of political prisoners, he said, “Yes, the cases of political prisoners are also into consideration. It is a step by step process. The first CBM is about revoking cases of stone pelters and this was something which every delegation suggested to me during my first visit to Srinagar.”

Sharma said that he will begin second phase of dialogue from Friday. “This time I will be going Jammu first (on November 24) and Srinagar next on November 26,” he said.
“All the possible steps and CBMs will be taken to move a step towards the solution of problems the Kashmiri youth are facing.’’
About the possibility of a formal invitation to the separatists, who had refused to hold talks last time, Sharma said he wants the sphere of his “recently initiated dialogue process expands.”
“I would like to meet more and more people” he added.
Earlier on July 6 last year state government had announced that 104 cases registered between 2008 and 2009 had been withdrawn against 634 persons allegedly involved in stone-pelting incidents. An official spokesman had said that the amnesty scheme was implemented after Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti gave instructions to look into these cases during a meeting to review pace of reforms in J&K’s jails.
However the rights groups’ were sceptical, questioning the amnesty granted by the government, stating that “similar amnesty scheme was announced during Omar Abdullah led NC-Congress coalition that failed miserably on the ground.” The 1200 stone-throwers who had been given amnesty during Omar Abdullah regime were not let off by the police, the rights groups had said.
However, officials said the they have not yet received any order from the Union Home Ministry about suspension of “cases against the first time stone pelters” despite media reports that “cases of 4,500 such cases will be dropped in a bid to win hearts in Kashmir.”
Sources in the Home Department said there is no formal order over withdrawing the cases of stone pelters. “It is only in media circles,” sources said.
Principal Secretary Home department, R K Goyal refused to comment on the issue.
“I can’t say anything as of now. And I am in a meeting,” he told Rising Kashmir.
Director General of Police, S P Vaid, told Rising Kashmir that he has not received any order in this regard. “I can’t say anything till I receive the order,” he said.
Inspector General of Police (Kashmir Zone) Muneer Khan, when asked if could provide the exact figures of the cases of first time stone pelters, said that it was premature to talk about the issue which was “still into consideration.”