After reserving his comments for four months over New Delhi-appointed interlocutors report on Kashmir, chief minister Omar Abdullah has decided to throw his weight behind the initiative.
"The report should form the basis to initiate a dialogue between the centre and the state. It can pave the path for meeting the aspirations of the people of the state on the basis of a boarder consensus that emerges from the process of the internal dialogue," said Omar after meeting Radha Kumar and Dilip Padgaonkar on Wednesday evening in Srinagar.
"…An effort needs to be made so that the differences could be narrowed down and majority of the people are unified on the broader contours of the political resolution," said Omar.
The chief minister's statement came after a four-month silence over the report, which was made public in May on the home ministry's website.
Two of the three-member group of interlocutors, which also includes MM Ansari, are in Kashmir on a feedback meeting "in their personal capacities rather than with any official mandate".
"The idea is to get people's responses to our recommendations, which were not our opinions but summary of what people here discussed with us during our one-year long interlocution. We are here to listen to people for their point of view on our recommendations," said Radha Kumar.
The interlocutors report received poor response in Kashmir with separatist leaders like moderate Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and hardline Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani trashing it out rightly.
"There is no need to talk to them as they have not done justice with their job. If New Delhi is serious about resolving the Kashmir issue then it should show sincerity rather than buying time," said the Mirwaiz.
The Mirwaiz's opinion is echoed by JKLF chairman Yasin Malik. "They have ignored the historical perspective of Kashmir issue in their report, and proved they are dishonest. There is no point meeting them, official or unofficial capacity," said Malik.
Main opposition PDP has taken a dig at the chief minister for his sudden support for interlocutors report.
"It was a classic case of a political executive getting lost in a 'blunderland' of his own making. It was obvious that the chief minister did not mean anything that he ever said for or against the interlocutors. It seems he is just shooting in the dark for gaining some relevance on political landscape. In the process, the institutions are becoming a laughing stock," said PDP general secretary Dilawar Mir.
The PDP alleged that Omar just a day ago dismissed the former interlocutors as "nobodies' in his speech in south Kashmir.
"It's a U-turn. It was significant that the National Conference had rejected interlocutor's report because it had ruled out autonomy as a solution to Kashmir issue."
"Omar through his childish actions and thoughtless comments reduced himself to a non-entity that unfortunately can now be manipulated into make any statement at a tremendous cost to the state he heads," said Mir.
The interlocutors were appointed in October 2010 to suggest contours of the resolution to the political problem of Kashmir. The initiative came in the backdrop of five-month long street agitation that left 113 youth dead in Kashmir.