Lakshwadweep Administrator Dineshwar Sharma passes away

Dineshwar Sharma  

Lakshwadweep’s Administrator and former Intelligence Bureau chief Dineshwar Sharma passed away at a Chennai hospital on Friday. He was 66.

Mr. Sharma was being treated for interstitial lung disease at a city hospital since November 25. He is survived by wife Manju Sharma, a son and a daughter.

A statement by MGM Healthcare said Mr. Sharma suffered severe bleeding due to intra-cerebral haemorrhage and passed away at 2.40 p.m. on Friday.

Mr. Sharma, a 1979-batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, hailed from Bihar. He served as IB Director from 2014 to 2016. He headed the bureau when the government announced demonetisation on November 8, 2016. Mr. Sharma had told this correspondent that he was not consulted by the government on the decision.

Also read: New Jammu & Kashmir interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma is known as a dove

After his retirement, the Modi government was keen on giving him an extension but he turned down the offer, saying it would upset the succession chart of his juniors. He was then appointed as an interlocutor for talks with the Assam-based insurgent groups and also headed a committee to restructure the Home Ministry.

Mr. Sharma was appointed the Centre’s “Special Representative” to initiate and carry forward a dialogue in Jammu and Kashmir on October 23, 2017, and given the rank of Cabinet Secretary.

He had requested the then Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to convene a meeting with certain television news channels to caution them on spreading “vicious propaganda” against Kashmiris.

Amnesty package

Following successive reports by Mr. Sharma to the government that the killings and encounters were not yielding the desired results in Kashmir, the Centre announced “cease-ops or suspension of operations” in the former State on May 16, 2018. He also pushed for an amnesty package for the youth in Kashmir who were arrested for stone throwing after the July 8, 2016 encounter of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani.

However, after the BJP-PDP alliance broke in J&K in June 2018 and an announcement was made by Mr. Singh to resume security operations, he offered to resign but was persuaded to continue.

After August 5, 2019, when Parliament revoked the special status of J&K and bifurcated the State into two Union Territories, Mr. Sharma was appointed the Administrator of the Union Territory of Lakshwadeep on October 25 last year.

Former Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) chief A.S. Dulat, who worked with Mr. Sharma in J&K in the early 1990s, said his death had come as a rude shock.

‘Right man for Kashmir’

Lakshwadweep Administrator Dineshwar Sharma passes away

“When he was appointed an interlocutor for Kashmir, it was a great opportunity both for Delhi and Kashmir. Unfortunately, he could not do what he wanted to do. He was the right man, capable of much more. Even when he disagreed, he smiled,” Mr. Dulat recalled.

Asif Ibrahim, who was Mr. Sharma’s predecessor in the IB, recalled that Mr. Sharma always took his team along. “He had an unassuming personality and was always willing to take any kind of challenge. He took his family along to Kashmir after he was posted there even when the militancy was at its peak in the 90s,” Mr. Ibrahim said.

Retired IB chief Rajiv Jain, who succeeded Mr. Sharma, said he was a “straight shooter” and “someone whose character one should emulate.” “He was a simple soul and had no airs about him,” Mr. Jain said.

In an interview to The Hindu in 2017, Mr. Sharma had said that when he became the IB chief in December 2014, “Kashmir was not the problem.”

“Naxal attacks and insurgency in the North-East were the major security challenges. To some extent threat from Islamic State-inspired groups. Kashmir became a problem during the latter part of my tenure. Though there were problems initially, we did not expect the kind of unrest that happened in 2016,” Mr. Sharma had said.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah tweeted, “Deeply anguished to learn about the passing away of Administrator of Lakshadweep Shri Dineshwar Sharma ji. He served the nation with utmost devotion as a dedicated officer of the Indian Police Service. My heartfelt condolences to his family. Om Shanti.”

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2021 4:48:51 PM |

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