Kashmir: Interlocutors fail to take a holistic view

Srinagar: Stressing for sustained and inclusive dialogue with all stake-holders to resolve the Kashmir issue, interlocutors appointed by the Centre for the state of Jammu and Kashmir said that all stakeholders should give up their rigid stand.

“We tried our best in reaching out to separatists but they weren’t willing to meet us. We’ll go ahead with our task of submitting the report to the home ministry even if we don’t get their inputs”, said Dilip Padgaonkar, chief interlocutor, while addressing media, here on February 26.

Flanked by academician Radha Kumar and former Information Commissioner M. M Ansari, Padgaonkar said: “political settlement can be found only through a sustained and inclusive process of dialogue with all stakeholders including separatist outfits and civil society organizations. Any outbreak of violence would thwart the process”.

He added, “given diverse political aspirations of people living in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and communities they belong to, no single political formation of mainstream or otherwise could claim exclusive prerogative to speak for the people of the Valley as a whole, let alone for the people of the state”.

Advocating certain measures to change ground situation and to enable a dialogue process to progress in view of the feedback they’ve received from various delegations they met, Padgaonkar stressed for “an end to intimidation and harassment by police and security forces, including indiscriminate use of PSA, early release of stone-pelters and political prisoners not charged with serious crimes, speedy trial of jailed militants and bringing to book those responsible for human rights violations, re-deployment of security forces, corruption-free, transparent and accountable governance, access to quality education, public health, and jobs for educated youth”.

The interlocutors said that they would be presenting an initial report on Kashmir to the Union Home Ministry in March and it would be later submitted to the Prime Minister.

Referring to confidence-building measures (CBMs) put forward by senior separatist and chairman Democratic Freedom Party Shabir Ahmad Shah, he said “we urge him to embark on an engagement with us so that the very first point on agenda could be the issues he has listed in his letter”.

However, Shah on February 23, ruled out any meeting with interlocutors saying he is ready to hold talks anywhere in the country provided CBMs are taken up by government to solve Kashmir issue. The separatist leader, while addressing media here, said “I received an invitation on February 19 for a meeting with interlocutors but I am not going to meet them since condition isn’t favourable.”

He added, there is no need to submit a roadmap to interlocutors as the stated position of separatists is known to the central government. He asked US President Barrack Obama to appoint former President Bill Clinton as his special representative on Kashmir.

Stressing the futility of any isolated or piecemeal decision for resolution of Kashmir issue, Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti on February 25 called for a holistic view of the problem to restore sustainable and lasting peace in this region.

She emphasized on involving Pakistan in the dialogue process. “Separatists must be engaged in the dialogue process and their views should be addressed. They are important stakeholders. All sections, regions and sub-regions should be involved to arrive at an acceptable and workable solution”.

On the same day, chairman of Peoples Political Party, Hilal Ahmad War said, “confession of some separatists that they don’t have a roadmap to offer to interlocutors doesn’t mean that search had ended”.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 March 2011 on page no. 15

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