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J-K interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma helping Afzal Guru’s son to get passport

Afzal Guru’s son, Ghalib, hit the headlines last year after he secured 88% marks in the school-leaving exam conducted by the Jammu and Kashmir Board of School Education. He had scored 95% in the Class 10 examination.

india Updated: Mar 14, 2019 10:17 IST
Harinder Baweja
Harinder Baweja
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Dineshwar Sharma,Afzal Guru,Afzal Guru’s son
Centre’s special representative to Jammu and Kashmir, Dineshwar Sharma.(PTI Photo)

The Indian government’s special representative on Kashmir had a quiet meeting with Ghalib Guru, son of hanged Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, a few months ago, HT learns.

Former Intelligence Bureau director Dineshwar Sharma, who was appointed the Centre’s interlocutor in October 2017 to hold talks with all stakeholders in the state, is now helping Ghalib secure an Indian passport. “I will do anything that can bring happiness and satisfaction to any young person, including Afzal Guru’s son,’’ Sharma said, when asked about the help he is extending Ghalib, who applied for a passport in 2012 but has drawn a blank for the last seven years. He even approached the courts for help but has remained unsuccessful in getting a passport.

In a video released by Asian News International (ANI) last week, Ghalib appealed that he be given the travel document. “I have an Aadhaar card and I should also be issued a passport. I want to study abroad and have got a medical scholarship in Turkey but no one is telling me why I am not getting the passport,” he said in the video.

Ghalib hit the headlines last year after he secured 88% marks in the school-leaving exam conducted by the Jammu and Kashmir Board of School Education. He had scored 95% in the Class 10 examination.

Many, including Mehbooba Mufti, chief of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, congratulated Ghalib for his academic success.

“Why should a child be victimised to pay a heavy price for his father’s actions? His [Afzal Guru’s] son is a brilliant student and has every right to live a normal life,” Mufti tweeted.

Questions were raised by many over why he was being referred to as “someone’s son” and not being treated as an equal citizen of the country.

Afzal Guru was hanged in 2013 for sheltering and aiding the heavily armed terrorists of the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) who attacked Parliament on December 13, 2001. Soon after his hanging, the Jaish started an Afzal Guru squad. The bomber who exploded an explosives-laden car into a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) convoy that killed 40 troopers on February 14 this year was a member of the same terror group.

A government official said there has been a lot of pressure on Ghalib to join the ranks of such groups. “Home-grown militants and foreign mercenaries of the Pakistan-based terror organisations have been exerting pressure on Afzal Guru’s son,” the government official added on the condition of anonymity.

In interviews to the media, after he scored 88%, Ghalib said that the results were a stepping stone in his career and that he wanted to fulfil his father’s dream of becoming a cardiologist. Ghalib revealed that Afzal Guru would encourage him to pursue medicine as a career whenever he visited Delhi’s Tihar Jail, where the latter was lodged in a high-security barrack.

Ghalib is now preparing for the National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET), which qualifies a student for admission to medical or dental courses, but may not be able to pursue options abroad if he is not granted a passport.

The Centre’s special representative on Kashmir pushed for several “goodwill gestures” since his appointment in October 2017. He recommended an amnesty scheme for stone-pelters in Kashmir Valley and the then chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti, signed off on his proposal, asking for cases against first-time offenders to be withdrawn. He was also the force behind the cessation of hostilities during the holy month of Ramzan in May last year.

“It is important to help the Valley’s young people so that they do not become vulnerable to militancy,” Sharma, the interlocutor, said.

First Published: Mar 14, 2019 07:29 IST