A Congress leader could be asked to lead the group of interlocutors drawn from different fields to hold a sustained dialogue with the people of Jammu & Kashmir including separatists, government sources indicated on Tuesday.
The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) is expected to finalise the team of interlocutors at its meeting on Thursday.
The CCS had opted for a set of interlocutors — rather than one interlocutor as in the past — to ensure that the dialogue went on a “sustained and continuous basis”.
Sources indicated it will be presented with a shortlist of names who could be approached to execute the UPA government’s first comprehensive attempt to keep its communication channels open with the people of the troubled state.
The group will have the right mix of people so that it has the confidence of the people of the Kashmir Valley as well as Jammu region.
It will have people who have the confidence of the Prime Minister, have the credibility to talk to people from an unbiased position and are able to balance out the regional and religious sensitivities.
“There are a lot of names on the table... It will need to be scrutinised and a shortlist drawn up for the CCS’ consideration,” a government source said.
For now, sources said the list of possible interlocutors included Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh, former Jammu University V-C Prof. Amitabh Mattoo, Mahmood-ur-Rehman, the retired civil servant who went on to become the vice chancellor of the Aligarh Muslim University and Central Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah.
There is, however, a strong view within the government that a political leader of standing should be asked to lead the group so that it is clear that the government means business.