Indo-Pak Affairs Politics

Three interlocutors chosen for Jammu and Kashmir

NEW DELHI: The Indian government on Wednesday named three interlocutors, including eminent journalist Dilip Padgaonkar, to hold talks with all shades of opinion including the separatists in Jammu and Kashmir as part of efforts to bring peace in the state.

Besides Padgaonkar, Information Commissioner M M Ansari and noted academician Radha Kumar were the other two named by Union Home Minister P Chidambaram as interlocutors chosen in consultation with the state government. Chidambaram said the three interlocutors are “very credible people” and they will begin work as early as possible. “We may add one more interlocutor later,” he said.

The decision to appoint a set of interlocutors was taken at the Cabinet Committee on Security meeting chaired by Prime Mamohan Singh on September 25. The terms and references of the panel will be to hold talks all shades of opinion including mainstream political parties and separatists. The panel will cover views of all the three regions—Jammu, Ladakh and Kashmir.

Radha Kumar, who heads the Nelson Mandela Institute of Peace in Jamia Milia Islamia, has been engaged in back-channel discussions with Hurriyat Chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani. Recently, she was in the Valley and had met Geelani who was undergoing treatment in Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences in Srinagar.

Padgaonkar was part of Kashmir committee led by eminent lawyer Ram Jethmalani. Ansari, who was professor and Director at the Hamdard University, is an educationist and economist before moving as an Information Commissioner. The Centre had also advised the state government to immediately review the cases of all Public Safety Act detenues and withdraw the detention orders in appropriate cases.-SANA

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Noreen Gill

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  • The happenings in Kashmir over the past few months need no retelling. The situation has deteriorated to extreme levels with unarmed civilians, mostly young teenagers, being killed by the Indian armed forces with impunity. The toll from June 11 has reached 109, with the numbers of injured, maimed, blinded much more. Curfews, bullets, tear smoke have become a routine to suppress the peaceful democratic protests.
    While many people have shown concern about the recent turn of events it is very important to contextualize the whole situation. We need to ask the question as to why people are getting killed in hundreds, injured in thousands, kept behind bars, tortured and maimed. It is important at this juncture to bring the attention towards the fact that the basic issue at hand regarding the Kashmir dispute is the Self-Determination of the people of Jammu & Kashmir for which they have been steadfast and hence been the target of the repressive military machine of the Indian State. The people of Jammu Kashmir are clear about the fact that what they want is Azaadi which they have time and again defined in coherent terms of letting them decide their own future.