Interlocutors Begin Afresh

Interlocutors Begin Afresh

27 August 2012
Greater Kashmir
Firdous Tak

Srinagar: Ahead of holding two separate “workshops” in Srinagar and Jammu on August 30 and September 2, two of the three former interlocutors on J&K Monday called on Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde. Chief interlocutor Dileep Padgaonkar and academician Prof Radha Kumar met the Union Home Minister today and briefed him about their year-long exercise. It has been reliably learnt that Prof Kumar’s Delhi Policy Group (DPG) is facilitating another round of exercise by the center’s interlocutors on Jammu and Kashmir “so as to get the feedback on the report submitted by the panel to the union government”. Pertinently, the Government of India on August 8 made it clear that “it is not planning any mechanism to implement the recommendations of the interlocutors.” “The government has not taken any decision on the interlocutors report on Jammu and Kashmir submitted last year and is not planning any mechanism to implement the recommendations,” Minister of State of Home Jitendra Singh told Rajya Sabha. However, even after the Government of India having given a cold shoulder to their report, the interlocutors will be embarking on a weeklong tour of the state during which they are planning to hold two separate “workshops” in the twin capital cities of Srinagar and Jammu. “The interlocutors will be holding the first meeting at SKICC Srinagar on August 30 after their arrival in the Valley on Wednesday”, sources told Greater Kashmir adding, “Another meeting is scheduled to be held in Jammu on September 2”. Delhi Policy Group has already sent invitations to various political and social organizations besides selected journalists to express their views on the recommendations made by the interlocutors after their earlier exercise. “Many of you attended the Round Table meetings that were organized by the former Interlocutors, and we would be grateful to hear your feedback on our report, especially where we have failed to adequately summarize your views, which recommendations you find objectionable, and which other recommendations should be added”, the invitation sent by DPG reads. The letter further informed the invitees that the meetings “will be closed door and not for attribution, so that we can have a productive discussion”. It claimed that a detailed report will be prepared after the visit by Delhi Policy Group and submitted to the union government. The interlocutors have already indicated that they are ready to rehash their report if the people want so. Talking to Greater Kashmir, Radha Kumar, one of the interlocutors, said that they will arrive on August 29 for the weeklong visit to get feedback on the recommendations of the report submitted by them last year. She said they will have separate meetings with mainstream political parties and civil society groups, whom they had met during interlocution period, to get feedback. “We don’t believe that they (separatists) will give us any feedback,” she said, when asked whether they had any plans to meet the separatist groups during their upcoming visit. MEMBERS BRIEF UNION MINISTER Two of the three members of the panel, meanwhile, met Union Home Minister today in New Delhi and briefed him about their year-long exercise of interaction with a cross section of people in the state. Emerging after the hour-long meeting, Dileep Padgaonkar, who served as chairman of the group, said they informed the minister about their plans to conduct workshops in Srinagar and Jammu later this week. This was the first time the interlocutors met Shinde after he took over charge of the ministry earlier this month. 'We told him that we are going to conduct workshops in Srinagar and Jammu later this week to receive a structured feed back on the recommendations of the report,' Padgaonkar said, adding Shinde asked them to communicate their feedback at the earliest opportunity. Padgaonkar, who was accompanied by Radha Kumar, were told by the minister that he would go into the details of the report once the current session of Parliament was over. Shinde said he would meet the two and again discuss the structured feedback with them. The report of the interlocutors which was submitted last year on October 12 and made public on May 24 has recommended setting up of a Constitutional Committee to review all Acts and Articles of the Constitution extended to Jammu and Kashmir and upholding of Article 370. The 176-page report also calls for a review of all Central Acts and all Articles of the Constitution of India extended to the state after the 1952 Delhi agreement which also gave special status to the state under Article 370. Under the political component, the report deals with Centre-State relations and internal devolution of powers and suggests a road map listing confidence-building measures that includes review of Disturbed Areas Act and re-appraisal of application of controversial AFSPA. The report was dismissed by many state and national political parties while separatist groups from the Valley had never joined the discussions with the interlocutors.