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PM wants political solution on Kashmir
New Delhi/ Jammu, Oct 21 (IANS/PTI):
Published on 22 Oct. 2010 12:10 AM IST
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The three new interlocutors on Jammu and Kashmir said after meeting Manmohan Singh Thursday that the prime minister wanted them to look for a political solution to the dragging crisis in the state and especially speak to “youths and women”.
Academic Radha Kumar, one of the three apolitical faces who have been chosen to hold talks with “all shades of opnion” in the troubled state, said Manmohan Singh told them to focus on a comprehensive political solution. “It must take into account the aspirations of people. Dialogue should take into account previous dialogues as well those involving dissident groups, including Pakistan-related processes that were part of it,” Radha Kumar told reporters quoting the prime minister’s instructions. Journalist Dileep Padgaonkar, who is also an interlocutor, said: “We are hugely impressed with the depth and sincerity of the prime minister to ensure that a solution is found.
“We are planning to visit Jammu and Kashmir once every month. We will be submitting interim reports after every visit with suggestions and recommendations.” Former information commissioner M.M. Ansari is the other interlocutor. Although the team has a one-year mandate, it will submit periodical reports after monthly visits to the state, said Padgaonkar.
“The prime minister reiterated support at the highest level. He said talk particularly with youth and women,” he said.
Padgaonkar said talks to resolve the Kashmir crisis “may be difficult”. “But we will approach the talks with an open mind and a big heart.” He said the team will go on its first visit to Kashmir soon. “We will talk to people from all shades of opinion.” Underlining that the “talks would be comprehensive”, he said the interlocutors will be sensitive to the divergent views of representatives of the different regions of the state - Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh.
Give interlocutors
a chance: Omar
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today said the newly-appointed interlocutors on Jammu and Kashmir should be given a “chance” even as the panel said it would approach all shades of opinion with an “open mind and a big heart”.
Ahead of their maiden visit to J and K, the interlocutors -- eminent journalist Dileep Padgaonkar, noted academician Radha Kumar and former CIC member M M Ansari -- met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
“Home Minister (P Chidambaram) has repeatedly maintained that it (Kashmir) is a political problem and will get a political solution. Let us give it a chance,” Mr Omar said in a veiled appeal to separatists to engage in talks with the interlocutors. Noting that the job of the three-member panel was to facilitate dialogue, Mr Omar said there was no reason to criticise the composition of the group at this stage. “The criticism of the interlocutors at this stage is uncalled for as there is no reason for it. They are not to find a solution but to convey the message from all political shades and opinions in the state to the Centre and vice versa,” he said in Srinagar. The announcement of the team was greeted with scepticism in the Valley.
BJP slams choice
of interlocutors
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Thursday expressed surprise at the choice of the three interlocutors on Jammu and Kashmir and wondered how they could deliver a roadmap for a political solution. “We are surprised, rather shocked, at the choice of the interlocutors by Home Minister P. Chidambaram,” BJP general secretary Vijay Goel told reporters here.
“All of them are non-political. For a political solution, a political thinking and background are important,” he said.
Will boycott Kashmir interlocutors: Geelani
Hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Geelani Thursday said he will not speak to the newly-appointed team of interlocutors and asked Kashmiri students and traders associations to also not speak to them.
“All previous dialogue processes with India have failed, and we have held some 150 rounds of talks since 1947 without solving the issue. I request all Kashmiri students and traders associations to boycott them,” the separatist leader said at a seminar here Thursday evening.
Geelani reiterated his position that the Kashmir issue could be solved only through the right to self-determination and the people of Jammu and Kashmir should be given a chance to determine their fate. “Whatever the majority wills will emerge from the plebiscite and would be acceptable to all,” he said. He was speaking at a seminar organised by The Campaign for Relief of Political Prisoners.
Cong welcomes Sonia statement on Kashmir
Welcoming party chief Sonia Gandhi’s statement that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India, Congress leaders here Thursday said the state’s accession to the Indian union is a “fact of life”.
Gandhi made the statement in her letter carried in the party mouthpiece Sandesh, days after Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said in the state assembly that Jammu and Kashmir had only acceded to and not merged with the Union of India.
Veteran Congress leader and former deputy chief minister Mangat Ram Sharma told party workers Thursday that the “accession of the state with India is a historic reality and Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India. This is a fact of life.”
Senior vice president of Youth Congress R.S. Pathania told reporters: “Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and it shall remain so.” The Youth Congress Thursday celebrated the birth anniversary of Maharaja Gulab Singh, who had laid the foundation of Dogra rule in the state.
His great grandson Maharaja Hari Singh had signed the accession of Kashmir with India on Oct 26, 1947.
“We say it loudly and clearly that the accession of J&K with India was final and irrevocable,” Pathania said.

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