Two of the three-member group of New Delhi-appointed interlocutors on Kashmir, headed by veteran journalist Dilip Padgoankar, arrived in the state for their second round of assessment of ground situation on Tuesday.
After having their first round of visit to Kashmir valley in the first week of November, the interlocutors – academician Radha Kumar and information commissioner M M Ansari --- reached Ladakh on Tuesday.
The interlocutors held a series of meetings with mainstream political parties like Peoples Democratic Party, Congress and Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council.
Delegates from two Muslim organizations, one from Shia sect and other from Sunni sect, also met the interlocutors besides Buddhist and Gumpa associations. Civil society and cultural groups apprised the visiting interlocutors about cultural and linguistic identity of the Ladakh region.
“People in Ladakh are worried about their linguistic and cultural identity. There is a deep sense of feeling among people that Ladhaki culture is being eroded. It’s a fact that the Ladhaki language has not been included in the 8th schedule of the constitution,” Kumar told Hindustan Times over phone from Leh.
She said there is growing demand across the board, irrespective of religion or cultural background, for a Union Territory status for the region. “There is feeling of deprivation of resources and money from the state government among people here. Over the period of time, the voices for the UT status have multiplied in the region,” said Kumar.
The interlocutors also visited one of the villages devastated by a cloudburst in October this year. “Rebuilding of houses has taken place in remarkable time. More than 200 houses have already been builtm” said Kumar.
Padgoankar, who is in Spain these days, is not accompanying the other two interlocutors, who are supposed to file a monthly-based report to both Home ministry and prime minister’s office in New Delhi.
In its first round of visit to Kashmir valley, the interlocutors failed to meet separatists but created a positive vibe among the people because of their statements. The interlocutors will arrive in Kashmir valley on Wednesday.