'Separatists Absence In Kashmir Talks Would Not Affect Suggestions'17 September 2011
Times of India
Jammu: Reiterating a call to separatists for taking part in talks for resolving Kashmir issue politically, the interlocutors appointed by the Centre said on Saturday that doors were open even now. However, they added separatists' non- participation would not have much affect on the final recommendations they would submit to Centre on October 12. To a question on whether the separatists' absence would leave their findings incomplete, chief interlocutor Dileep Padgaonkar candidly admitted that was possible despite their being exhaustive in this exercise. He added, 'No big difference would be there in the report due to their (separatists') non-engagement in talks, as we have exercised great elaboration on the five points of view of Geelani and Mirwaiz along with those of others.' Veteran journalist Padgaonkar, who was flanked by former chief information commissioner M M Ansari and academician Radha Kumar, also underlined that doors were still open for separatists to join talks. Padgaonkar rejected allegations from certain spheres, including Bharatiya Janata Party, that their recommendations would be loaded towards granting a pre-1953 status to Jammu & Kashmir. He said the recommendations contained a wholesome account of the aspirations of all people and communities of the three regions and would be submitted to Centre on October 12. 'We did not look into the issues through the perspective of one demand or community and appeal to all to wait until the final draft is published,' stressed Padgaonkar. He, however, evaded directly replying to questions like whether clemency for Afzal Guru might be included in their recommendations. 'The power to take a final decision regarding that resides with the President of India.' 'In my individual capacity I do not favour capital punishment, as is elaborated in the Constitution of India also,' he said briefly adding that any development in this case would have no bearing on their recommendations. 'Our paramount consideration is to see the state as a combined unit and all our recommendations include every aspect that gels well with this constitutional domain,' Padgaonkar underlined. Preferring to remain tight-lipped on the contents of the recommendations, he denied he was treading on any 'red lines' drawn by the Centre. The interlocutors' last visit to Jammu included a tour of Samba and a briefing of the situation in the state by GOC-in-C of Northern Command, Lt General K T Parnaik. Academician Radha Kumar also spoke on the occasion but reserved comments on State Human Rights Commission's directive for DNA tests of the bodies in unmarked graves. She said the issue was sensitive and required great care. 'The decision is with the government. Taking it primarily affects religious sensibility of the people, consideration of militants and also of the families whose kin have disappeared,' said Kumar. The interlocutors are on final leg of their visit to Jammu & Kashmir and would fly back to the national capital on September 21 after visiting three districts of Kashmir tomorrow.