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Interlocutors third visit to J&K begins

india Updated: Dec 17, 2010 18:20 IST
Arteev Sharma
Arteev Sharma
Hindustan Times
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The Centre-appointed interlocutors’ third-leg of ‘Kashmir mission’ once again began on a ‘sour’ note on Friday in Jammu with the head interlocutor, Dileep Padgaonkar, seeking to clarify his ‘remarks’ on the functioning of Omar Abdullah government.

“I have never ever uttered such remarks about the J&K chief minister and his government. The reports appeared in a section of media were fabricated and I would suggest you to look at my interview aired on a news channel and draw your own conclusion,” Padgaonkar reacted.

In an interview to a news channel, Padgaonkar had reportedly described the J&K administration as “inefficient” and “insensitive.”

Two of them, Dileep Padgaonkar and eminent economist, MM Ansari reached Jammu on Friday morning. The third interlocutor, Radha Kumar, a well known academician would join them on Saturday. The trio would wind up their visit on December 23.

The earlier two visits of three interlocutors too had been mired in controversies following their ‘controversial’ statements vis-à-vis advocating the role of Pakistan in J&K issue and “endorsing” amendment in Indian Constitution to accommodate a “discussion on Azadi option.”

The Union Home Minister, P Chidambaram had asked the interlocutors for avoiding “ball to ball commentary” on their visit and observing reticence so that none of their statements kicked up any political controversy.

While down playing the controversy, Padgaonkar remarked, “we are not here to pass judgment. Our main focus is the fulfillment of our mandate to evolve a broad consensus for a political settlement in Jammu and Kashmir. I had never used the word ‘better’ for self-rule or any other proposal.”

The head interlocutor asserted the prime focus of the panel is to meet maximum people to seek their ideas about a “political settlement” of Jammu and Kashmir.

Padgaonkar, however, said the aim of the panel’s visit is to put in place certain confidence building measures (CBMs) to “facilitate the dialogue for seeking political settlement” in the state. “Anything that fulfills the aspirations of the people of all the three regions will be done,” he remarked.

The interlocutors’ panel would proceed for border district Poonch on Saturday and visit Rajouri on December 19. It would return to Jammu on December 20 and meet different delegations before leaving for Srinagar on December 21.

The team would leave for Capital on December 23 and would submit their review report to the Union Home Minister.