Dineshwar Sharma, the administrator of Lakshadweep and former Intelligence Bureau (IB) chief, died at the age of 66 on Friday in a hospital in Chennai, from complications related to a lung ailment.
Tributes poured in from political leaders across parties including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, home minister Amit Shah, and former J&K chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, who all praised him for his knowledge and skills but most importantly his ability to connect with everyone.
Sharma was slightly built and quiet but he was not averse to speak truth to power, and was always willing to invest time and effort on complex issues.
That made him a natural choice for the Modi government which decided to appoint him special representative for Jammu & Kashmir on October 25, 2017. His post was equivalent to the post of Cabinet Secretary.
Sharma, as J&K interlocutor, pursued dialogue with various stakeholders in J&K till the BJP-PDP coalition collapsed in 2017. It was he who recommended releasing first time stone pelters from jail.
PM Modi tweeted on Friday after his death: “Administrator of Lakshadweep Shri Dineshwar Sharma Ji made long lasting contributions to India’s policing and security apparatus. He handled many sensitive counter terror and insurgency ops during his policing career. Anguished by his demise. Condolences to his family. Om Shanti”.
Mehbooba Mufti said in her tweet as interlocutor Sharma tried his best to restore bridges of trust and goodwill between J&K and rest of the nation. Omar Abdulla said: “Dineshwar Sharma was a wise and sensible man who understood Kashmir. Unfortunately he was an interlocutor for a government that wasn’t interested in listening but that isn’t a reflection of either his efforts or his abilities. I’m sorry to hear of his untimely demise. May he RIP”.
His batchmate and former CBI Director Anil Sinha said: “I have lost my brother, my friend and my family member.”
Sharma was IB chief for a fixed two-year term from December 31, 2014.
Sharma joined the Intelligence Bureau as Assistant Director in January 1991 in Kashmir when the insurgency was at its peak there. During his service, Sharma handled a number of assignments including counter insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir and the Northeast.