Divided K Panel Faces RTI Query11 August 2011
Srinagar: As if the internal wrangling was not enough, the three-member team of interlocutors has come to face another challenge in the form of an RTI application seeking information on the procedure for their appointment and the number of foreign visits they have made so far. An application under RTI has been filed by a Mumbai-based mechanical engineer, Ajay Madhu Sudhan. “Yes, I have filed an RTI to know many things about interlocutors-the procedure of their appointment, the foreign countries they have visited and the people they have met,” Sudhan told Rising Kashmir over phone from Mumbai. “I also want to know whether they have met Kashmir American Council chairman Ghulam Nabi Fai. If yes, in what connection?” Sudhan, who claims to be a social activist, said he has filed many RTIs regarding social issues so far. “I feel this (interlocutors’ foreign visit) is a major social issue.” About the status of his RTI, he said the application was sent to Prime Minister’s Office for perusal. “I have been told that the PMO has directed Ministry of Home Affairs to furnish the details sought in the application,” Sudhan said. The development comes close on the heels of serious differences emerging within the panel, especially between Radha Kumar and M M Ansari. Interestingly, Ansari too had raised objections over Kumar’s foreign trips and attending conferences, particularly the one held by a pro-separatist group in Brussles. Sources said the RTI has come as a major challenge for both PMO and MHA given the fact that the development has come when Home Minister P Chidambaram has intervened to clear the “mess” within the panel. After the internal bickering within the panel, the Home Minister had decided to invite two members-Dilip Padgaonkar and Radha Kumar for a meeting. “The meeting was purely aimed at ironing out the differences within the panel. The duo was told by the Home Minister to shun the differences and focus on the report aimed at political settlement of Kashmir issue, sources said. Later, Kumar announced that she would continue to be part of the panel till the report is finalized. The team of interlocutors was constituted in October 2010 following more than five-month- long unrest in Kashmir in which 118 civilians were killed. The panel was given a mandate of one year for finding a political settlement of Kashmir issue. The interlocutors have so far met more than 500 delegations of all the three regions of Jammu and Kashmir.