The Kashmir Interlocution

The interlocutors came, talked to some people and went on to submit recommendations to the government for solving the Kashmir issue, adding to an already existing pile.

In a desperate attempt to manage the rage of summer 2010, New Delhi appointed three interlocutors to talk with diverse sections of society including the pro-freedom leaders. The interlocutors were asked to suggest measures for the resolution of the problems in Jammu and Kashmir. The team was headed by Journalist Dileep Padgoankar and included former information commissioner M M Ansari and educationist Prof Radha Kumar as members.

After interacting with 600 delegations in all 22 districts and three round table meetings involving women activists, scholars and cultural activists from across Jammu and Kashmir, the panel of interlocutors on October 12 submitted its report to Union Home Minister P Chidambaram. “The report is under consideration of the Government,” the ministry said in reply to an RTI query filed by news agency.

The report traces the contours of a possible political settlement of the Kashmir issue. The team failed to woo the separatist leaders. They could only manage to meet with Maulana Abbas Ansari who latter had to bear the brunt and was expelled from the basic membership of Hurriyat, only to be taken back after few months.

Dileep Padgoankar believed that separatists’ had lost an opportunity to resolve the crisis by refusing to meet the government panel, while senior officials in Home Ministry think otherwise. They say doors for dialogue are still open. “The report is not an end. We have to acknowledge the reality. It is an ongoing process,” an official reportedly said.

The report is believed to pave way for resumption of the dialogue. Talks between the government and the moderate faction of the separatists that have been stalled since 2005 may just resume. The government maintained that they are looking at some radical recommendations that would take into consideration the concerns of the many factions that have a stake in the Kashmir issue.

The report also contains recommendations on host of other issues related to the economy, social infrastructure and culture. On recommendation of repealing harsh laws like Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), Disturbed Areas Act etc, the panel said their interactions with general public, police and para-military forces have been incorporated in the report.

The government refused to make the report public fearing it to become a threat to integrity and sovereignty of the republic of India. “We would like that report be debated across the country particularly in Jammu and Kashmir,” Padgoankar said.

The panel hoped that their report would help in establishing peace in region, but in process of dialogue with diverse section of society, the team had differences within, on which many said that ‘if three of them could not handle themselves, how can they give solution to Kashmir.’

It is to be seen whether government would act on the recommendations or add to the pile of already existing recommendation!


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