Interlocutors Meet Delegations; Kargil For United J&K10 November 2010
The Daily Excelsior
Srinagar: A day after grant of Union Territory (UT) Status to Ladakh region figured prominently in their interactions, Centre's interlocutors today held threadbare discussions with several delegations of political and religious organizations in Kargil district who opposed any move to divide the State along ethnic, regional, religious or linguistic lines. 'We opposed any move to divide the State, which should remain as one unit and the Government of India should hold comprehensive dialogue process for resolving the political issue faced by the State,' Chairman of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Kargil, Kachoo Ahmad Ali Khan said after meeting Prof Radha Kumar and former Information Commissioner M M Ansari. Eminent journalist Dileep Padgaonkar, who heads the three-member panel and is out of the country, will join the team later. Khan thanked Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh for taking the initiative of appointing the interlocutors aimed at putting an end to the bloodshed in Kashmir valley. He said during the meeting, he highlighted the problems faced by Ladakh region in general and Kargil district in particular as it remains cut off from rest of the country due to heavy snowfall in the region. 'We demanded that work on construction of Zojilla tunnel be expedited and small aircraft, which can land at Kargil air strip, be started for allowing people of the district to travel to other parts of the country during winter,' Khan said. He said Kargil being a poverty ridden district, steps were needed for improving the financial condition of the people living there. The interlocutors, who arrived in Kargil this morning, also met delegations from Imam Khomenei Memorial Trust (IKMT), Islamia School, National Conference, Congress, BJP, PDP and Buddhist Association Zanskar. IKMT representative Asgar Ali Karbalaie said he strongly opposed any idea of dividing the State along the religious, regional or linguistic lines. 'We would prefer the state to one as it was in 1947. We have witnessed the ill effects of partition and do not want it to be repeated by further dividing the State,' he said. Karbalaie said he opposed the demands for grant of Union Territory status as well as Statehood, emanating from certain parts of the State. He said Kashmir issue needed a comprehensive solution, which is acceptable to people from all parts of the State. 'It is only possible if a sustained dialogue process is started with all the stakeholders,' he added. 'We also demanded creation of Ladakh division for better development in Leh and Kargil districts as at the moment there are only two provinces as per the State Constitution - Kashmir and Jammu,' he said. Karbalaie said he demanded reservation of the Lok Sabha seat for one district of Ladakh region and the Rajya Sabha seat for the other region to avoid unnecessary communal tension caused during the elections. 'Since there is only one Lok Sabha seat for Leh and Kargil districts, the people get polarized along religious lines which can be avoided by reserving one seat of Parliament for each district,' he added. He said the demands for opening of Kargil-Skardu route, on the pattern of Srinagar-Muzaffarabad and Poonch-Rawalakote roads, and providing direct telephone facility with Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), Gilgit and Baltistan were also raised. 'We are not able to talk to our relatives in Gilgit and Baltistan due to the one sided jamming of telecommunication services.' Later, the two member team flew to Baramulla where they interacted with several delegations including Numberdar Association, Transporters Association and a delegation of a mainstream political party. They are scheduled to meet several other delegations later this evening. They will visit border town of Uri, near the LoC, tomorrow for interacting with the people there.