“People of Kashmir don’t know the specific meaning of Azadi. They raise this slogan without knowing what they want. About 700 odd delegations we met did not talk about freedom but wanted solution of Kashmir issue within the ambit of Indian Constitution. Political stalwarts and people of Kashmir should ask government of India to implement major recommendations made by us,” this was stated by former interlocutor on Kashmir Dilip Padgounkar during a telephonic conversation with a local news agency, CNS, on Saturday.
When asked why his team of interlocutors during their very second visit without assessing the situation claimed that solution of Kashmir lies within the ambit of Indian constitution, Padgounkar claimed that not a single person whom they met sought freedom from India and instead the 700 odd delegations they met reposed their faith in Indian democracy and wished that Kashmir issue should be resolved within the ambit of Indian constitution.
While replying to a question that people in thousands gathered around the team of interlocutors in North and South Kashmir raising Azadi slogans, Padgounkar said that it’s true that people raised Azadi slogans but nobody knew the meaning of Azadi.
“We asked people to be specific and describe the meaning of Azadi, but to our surprise they failed to describe the meaning of Azadi. They did not want Azadi from India but wanted that their social and economic issues should be addressed,” he claimed.
He, however, said that those want Azadi from India did not bother to meet the team. “If Hurriyat people want solution to Kashmir issue then they should sit across the table and resolve the issue. Unfortunately, they (separatists) harp on the resolution of Kashmir issue but never bother to sit across the table,” he said.
Former Interlocutor told CNS that it would be better for Hurriyat leaders to hold dialogue with New Delhi. “The perception of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq about Rahul Gandhi’s visit to Kashmir may be based on his logic but I think Rahul has a different approach when it comes to Kashmir issue. Rahul believes in step by step approach and that’s why his visit lacked political punch,” Padgounkar said.
He welcomed the recent statements of Mirwaiz about poll boycott and said that elections have no bearing on Kashmir issue. “Separatist leaders should realize that people cast their vote even after boycott call. Boycott call is not going to help them at all and they need to review their decision,” he said.
When asked why their major recommendations were not implemented, Padgounkar said that political leader and people of Kashmir should ask government of India to implement major recommendations made by them. “I am happy that these recommendations have been put in public domain and hopefully after reaching at consensus these would be implemented,” he said.