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Centre names three Kashmir interlocutors
New Delhi, Oct 13 (IANS):
Published on 14 Oct. 2010 1:08 AM IST
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Naming eminent journalist Dilip Padgaonkar, Information Commissioner M.M. Ansari and academician Radha Kumar as the interlocutors who would re-start peace talks in troubled Jammu and Kashmir, the government Wednesday urged Kashmiris to engage with them.
Home Minister P. Chidambaram told reporters here that “we have appointed the group of interlocutors”, calling the three “very credible people”.
“We may add one more interlocutor later,” the home minister said. Asked why the panel had no political person, Chidambaram said they “have a political persona”. “All of them are well known to the people of India. They are credible and have a good track record,” he said.
The home minister said the terms and references of the panel would be to hold talks with all shades of opinion, including mainstream political parties and separatists, “especially with youth and students”. “I would appeal to all people of Jammu and Kashmir to engage with the interlocutors,” he added.
The group will cover the views of all the three regions -- Jammu, Ladakh and Kashmir. “They will talk to all shades of opinion in Jammu and Kashmir as early as possible,” Chidambaram said.
Two of the three interlocutors were involved in the Kashmir peace process earlier at different times. Padgaonkar was member of the Kashmir Committee led by eminent lawyer and now Bharatiya Janata Party MP Ram Jethmalani.
Radha Kumar, who heads the Nelson Mandela Institute of Peace in Jamia Millia Islamia, was engaged in back-channel discussions with moderate Hurriyat chief Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani.
She was in the valley recently and had visited Geelani at a hospital in Srinagar where he was undergoing treatment.
Noted educationist and economist Ansari was a professor and director at the Hamdard University before becoming the Information Commissioner.
Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Wednesday said the three interlocutors on Kashmir will begin the process of “sustained uninterrupted dialogue” with all shades of opinion to resolve the Kashmir problem.
He said eminent journalist Dilip Padgaonkar, Information Commissioner M.M. Ansari and academician Prof Radha Kumar have been appointed as interlocutors for Kashmir talks in pursuant to the decision of the Cabinet Committee on Security.
“We hope that they will begin a process of sustained uninterrupted dialogue with all sections of people of Jammu and Kashmir, especially with youths and students and all shades of political opinion,” he told reporters here. Chidambaram said the move was a clear demonstration of the seriousness of the government of India to find a solution to the Kashmir problem which has been there “for many, many years”.
“I would appeal to all sections of people of Jammu and Kashmir and all shades of political opinion to engage with the interlocutors so that we can move forward on the path of finding a solution to the problem,” he said.Asked why none of the interlocutors has a political background, the Home Minister said all of them have a political persona and they have been in public life for long and all of them are well known to the people of India.
“All of them are engaged in work which is in public domain and we think they are very credible people, people with a good track record and they can begin their work as early as possible and I am sure they will start their work as early as possible,” he said.
Chidambaram said government may add another interlocutor later.

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