Noted lawyer Ram Jethmalani today said vested interests on both sides of the border have allowed the Kashmir problem to continue and advised against talking to separatists to find a solution to issues plaguing the state.
"On both sides of the border there are mischief mongers who do not want a settlement (of the issue). Plenty of them on the other side but quite a few on this side too. There are vested interests in allowing this problem to continue," the Rajya Sabha member said at a discussion here on "Jammu and Kashmir- The way out" held by an organisation named Centre for Peace and Progress.
"You have to locate those people and neutralise them. This is not the time that I will identify them for you...," Jethmalani said.
He said he has always been interested in issues related to the state and advised people not to shy away from mediation or arbitration on the vexed issue.
The discussion was attended by political leaders and veterans from different walks of life.
He also said hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani should not be given "any importance" when it comes to talks.
Speaking on the issue, CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury, who visited the state recently as part of an all-party delegation, said that a "feeling of oneness" has to be created in Jammu and Kashmir to find a way out.
"Since the all-party delegation landed and then left the state...there has been no single incident of firing or killing. We have to create a feeling of oneness," Yechury said.
Yechury also said that the politics of division should not be allowed to continue.
"My agenda is to separate the Kashmiri people from their leaders who do not want peace," he said adding that the solution to the Kashmir issue is "not communal divide but secular unity of state of the three regions (Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh) with autonomy".
Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar suggested the power of 'Panchayati Raj' should be extended to the people of the state, saying, "The benefits of 'Azadi' cannot be there without Panchayati Raj. We should find solutions when things are normal (in the state)."
Aiyar also said that he disagrees with Jethmalani when he says that Hurriyat leader Geelani should not be talked to.
"I disagree entirely with Mr Ram Jethmalani that we should'nt talk to Geelani. Why not? It may be the best possible way of either exposing him or possibly who knows even converting him for even greater miracles as happened in history...who knows Geelani might become the greatest integrationist tomorrow. But you have to talk and it has to be a talk that is uninterrupted and unconditional...," he said.