Former Interlocutors face hostile audience

Former Interlocutors face hostile audience

30 August 2012
The Daily Excelsior


Srinagar: The former Interlocutors on Jammu and Kashmir faced hostile audience at SKICC today with majority of them criticizing their report that they presented to the Central Government and expressed anger over its non-implementation. Chaos and confusion was witnessed at SKICC when the Independent MLA from Langate Engineer Rashid tore down the handout enlisting the core recommendations of the Interlocutors' report in front of the two former Interlocutors Dilip Padgaonkar and Dr Radha Kumar. He called it an exercise futility and was supported by several other Civil Society members, who were called for review of the report. The 10 page handout was distributed among participants to receive feedback from them on the specific recommendations of the Interlocutors report submitted to the Central Government in October last year. The handout distributed on the occasion called for feedback from the participants on certain highlighted recommendations already given in the report. The major recommendations highlighted in the handout included those with regard to the State's social, cultural, economic and governance issues. Recommendations with regard to human rights and security reforms, media, political roadmap and cross LoC aspects were also highlighted to elicit feedback from the participants. Engineer Rashid was the first person to start discussion on the report and he started with tearing down the handout and reminded the former Interlocutors of the broken promises. 'This will be another nuisance added to the unfulfilled promises made by New Delhi and we all sitting in this meeting would later feel apologetic because there would be no outcome of such exercises', he told the former Interlocutors. There was heated argument between Engineer Rashid and Ashfaq Poswal of the Pahari Forum who interrupted Rashid and commotion continued for 15 minutes before Dr Radha Kumar chipped in and intervened to restore calm. The speakers on the occasion expressed reservations over their report and told the former Interlocutors that non-implementation of their report had badly dented their credibility in Kashmir valley. Majority of the participants expressed reservations about the recommendations as the consensus was that the Government of India has never implemented recommendations of any report so far. Participants suggested that the Interlocutors should work for implementation of their recommendations. Many speakers on the occasion asked the Interlocutors to work for revocation of the AFSPA. While speaking on the occasion former chairman of the State Public Service Commission Mohammad Shafi Pandit said that all the recommendations given by the former Interlocutors are apologetic and bear no crystal clear approach to resolve issues and concerns. 'AFSPA should go and I believe the Interlocutors should not have recommended its amendment', he added. Professor Gul Mohammad Wani said that there is a missing link in the recommendations which is to include the external dimension of the conflict. He said the Interlocutors should also have taken into consideration the relationship of Jammu and Kashmir with Pakistan occupied Kashmir. G M Mir who contested the 2008 elections from Handwara while appreciating the efforts made by the former Interlocutors in preparing the report, said that before discussing the recommendations as a internal management and governance issue, 'we need to address the larger issue of the State's relationship with India and Pakistan'. 'There is hypocrisy in the State while dealing with the sentiment or the grievances of people. If mainstream parties are pro-India, they should admit it publicly and if separatist are pro-Pakistan or want freedom, they should clearly State that', said Mir. Professor Hamida Nayeem of KSCDS was also critical of the recommendations carried in the former Interlocutors' report.