Kashmir panel head Dilip Padgoankar on Friday ruffled many features in separatist camp, saying “a small section of people harped on the UN resolutions for independence of Kashmir”.
“Regarding permanent political settlement in J-K, a small but vocal section of opinion harped on UN resolutions, plebiscite and self-determination resulting in independence for the state as it existed before August 1947. Most people we spoke to did not refer to that option,” said Padgoankar at a press conference in Srinagar at the end of four-day visit of New Delhi-appointed three-member interlocutors of the state.
He said most people reiterated their faith in democracy, fundamental rights, pluralism and tolerance. “People sought empowerment to enable them to realize in full measure their political, economic, social and cultural aspirations,” said Padgoankar, who was accompanied by another interlocutor MM Ansari. Third interlocutor Radha Kumar could not make it to Kashmir this time due to illness.
Padgoankar said there was need to devolve power to individuals and communities to avoid J-K’s division along ethnic or religious lines.
Padgoankar’s statement came a day after moderate Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq rejected to talk to the interlocutors saying “their report card has nothing to show”.
“He (Dilip) called me up. I reiterated the Hurriyat stand that we made certain suggestions to create conducive atmosphere and change ground realities in Kashmir. Till date, nothing has been done viz-a-viz our suggestions,” the Mirwaiz told the Hindustan Times.
Reacting to Padgoankar’s statement, Prof Abdul Ghani Bhat, a senior moderate leader with the Mirwaiz’s Hurriyat, said, “Yes, there has been little movement in implementation of UN resolutions in the past 60 years. If the resolutions cannot make any headway then a solution can be found through a dialogue process…For a resolution, all parties involved have to show flexibility, open mindedness, political maturity and courage to push forward a dialogue process.”
Hardline Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani described Padgoankar’s statement “insignificant and ill-founded”. “The interlocutors take dictations from New Delhi on whom to meet and whom not to meet. They (interlocutors) meet a selective group who sing their tune,” said Geelani adding, “I had made it clear in the past that the interlocutors exercise is futile. It is coming true now”.
To Padgoankar’s asking for formal documents from the Hurriyat factions to be incorporated in their report to be submitted to New Delhi, Geelani said: “We have submitted a five-point proposal on August 31 only. Unless India does not move on those suggestions no dialogue is possible.”
The Mirwaiz had put forth four-point proposal, which demanded withdrawal of security forces from residential areas, villages and towns, end to human rights abuses, release of all political prisoners and revocation of harsh laws like the AFSPA and Disturbed Area Act.
Geelani’s five-point proposal includes most suggests made by the Mirwaiz. Geelani, however, insists on “Kashmir to be declared an international dispute” by New Delhi.
The interlocutors group was constituted in the second week of October by Prime Minister and Home Minister, just four months after the valley witnessed violent protests in 2010. More than 110 protesters and bystanders were allegedly killed in security forces firing when a spate of protests sparked off immediately after the killing of a school boy on June 11 in Srinagar.