Interlocutors display their helplessness

Srinagar: Maintaining that some of the recommendations put forward by interlocutors appointed by the Centre for the state of Jammu and Kashmir have been heard by the state government, Prof. Radha Kumar, one of the three interlocutors on March 13 expressed her disappointment over the recent arrest of youth in valley. She however, expressed the hope that they would be released soon.

“We did get some relief as youth arrested last year were released. But, the cycle of arrests has restarted. I believe it isn’t good news”, said Prof. Kumar, while addressing a press conference here at the end of a wo-day (March 12-13) women’s meeting.

Dilip Padgaonkar, chief interlocutor said “it has to be a process and not an event only. Comments and suggestions from women would strengthen our hands. Among scores of delegation that we met hardly were there women voices. So this meeting is important”.

Prof. Kumar said that suggestions from the conference would be incorporated in preparation of the final draft to be submitted to the union government. “It was decided to constitute a special task force comprising of eminent women from all three regions that would look into problems of widows, half-widows, orphans and parents of disappeared persons. Problems of migrant women, especially Kashmiri Pandits were also discussed”.

She added that there is an urgent requirement for trauma counselling centres. “Need for redeployment of troops out of residential areas and removal of security installations in residential areas was also underlined. The laws for protection of juveniles found in India, don’t exist here, and legislative assembly could consider whether similar legislation is required in the state along with amendments to restrict use of PSA”.

Prof. Kumar adds “there was a lively discussion on political contours. Participants were unanimous in their demands that no settlement can be reached without participation of women”.

Impact of conflict on women, forthcoming panchayat elections and role of women in peacemaking were discussed threadbare. Women Parliamentarians, who attended the meeting include Brinda Karat, MP (CPI-M), Mabel Rebello, MP (INC) Viplove Thakur, MP (INC) and Smriti Irani, BJP Women’s wing. The meeting based on four sessions drew about 45 women from various walks of life.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 April 2011 on page no. 15

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