Jammu Muslims Oppose JK's Division: K Panel19 December 2010
Jammu: Stating that people in Poonch and Rajouri are against the division of the state, the three-member interlocutor team has termed the problems facing the twin border districts as “entirely different from what people of Srinagar and Jammu are confronted with”. Meanwhile, following their assessment at the end of the two-day visit to the region where they met 43 delegations of different political and social groups, the interlocutors have decided to recommend a regional council for Pir Panchal region and further decentralization of powers in the state. Interacting with media persons in Rajouri on Sunday, Dileep Padgoanker, who heads the team, said they observed that people of Pir Panchal region were against the division of Jammu and Kashmir “as their problems are entirely different from those faced by the people in Jammu and Srinagar”. “I will prefer to refer their problems to Government of India with a recommendation of creating a regional council for Pir Panchal region and further decentralization of powers in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said. The interlocutors met 43 delegations of different social and political affiliations, including 15 delegations of different organizations of Hindu community. Sources said the main point put forth by most of the delegations was that people of Rajouri and Poonch were against the division of state on communal basis. “And if in future there is any such solution to Kashmir, people of Pir Panchal will prefer to be part of Kashmir region,” sources quoted the delegations telling the interlocutors. The delegations also raised the issue of discrimination with the region with respect to development and representation in the government. In Poonch, most of the delegations, as per sources, talked only about the developmental issues in the hilly district with a demand of forming Hill Council on the pattern of Ladakh Hill Development Council. Only few delegations belonging to Muslim civil society groups talked about political solution of Kashmir with an assertion that “if at any given point of time, GoI decides to divide the state, people of Poonch would like to go with Valley at that time.” In Rajouri, besides the delegations of mainstream political parties, several civil society groups met the interlocutors including Muslim Coordination Committee of Rajouri and Al-huda Educational Trust. All these delegations, as per sources, have demanded restoration of pre-1947 geographical position of J&K, and have vociferously opposed any trifurcation of the state on communal basis. The delegations have also suggested that the interlocutors should talk to people in Pakistan administered Kashmir for finding a permanent solution of Kashmir issue. On this Padgaonkar, as per sources, said that GoI has not mandated him to talk to people of PaK. “If GoI allows me, I will definitely go there and talk to people there,” sources quoted Padgaonkar as saying. Meanwhile, speaking to Rising Kashmir, Padgoanker said the mission of his team was to talk and listen to all shades of opinion in all the three regions of the state. On the aspirations of people of Poonch and Rajouri, the chief interlocutor said, “We are just listening to people and would be able to comment only after listening to all of them.” He also refuted having said that people of Rajouri-Poonch were against the demand for 'Azadi'. “I have nothing really to tell you. I don’t know what media is quoting. I have not said it,” said Padgoanker.