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'Solution within constitutional framework only'

india Updated: Sep 21, 2011 23:27 IST
Toufiq Rashid
Dileep Padgaonkar

On their last official visit to the state, the Centre's interlocutors on Kashmir said on Wednesday they would push for a solution to the problems of the disturbed region within the framework of the Indian Constitution.

A solution beyond the constitutional contours was not acceptable to many regions and sub-regions in the state, they added. However, nothing must disrupt "the unity and special status of the state".

Speaking to the media, chief interlocutor Dileep Padgaonkar read out the team's joint statement that said: "The challenge (is) how best to accommodate the pluralism in the state."

"There is a sense of victimhood in all the three regions (Jammu, the valley and Ladakh) of the state," he added.

The team said it would address the "political, social and cultural aspirations of the people of all the three regions of the state". "They are entitled to enjoy the democratic rights that can be rightfully claimed in their dual capacity as state subjects and as citizens of India," said Padgaonkar.

"We have listened to the stories of the sufferings the people went through and this made us understand the seriousness of the task we undertook here."

He said during the past 11 months violence had decreased and tourists and pilgrims in unprecedented numbers visited Kashmir.

"But the peace here is fragile and it needs to be consolidated. People have the right to be empowered to exercise their democratic rights," he added.

Regarding the Kashmiri separatists, who, except one (moderate Moulvi Abbas Ansari), refused to meet them, Padgaonkar said their viewpoints would be accommodated in the final report, to be submitted on October 13. "We extended our hands but they refused," he said.

"We know their positions on various issues and we will also speak about those views," he added. During their term of mediation, which started on October 13, 2010, the interlocutors interacted with more than 700 delegations, met more than 5,000 people, held three roundtable conferences and visited various parts of the state.

The team was appointed after the summer agitation of 2010 to find a lasting solution to the problems of Kashmir.

Autonomy only solution: Interlocutors