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J&K interlocutors: Will shortly submit report to Chidambaram

Centre's interlocutors on J&K on Friday said they would shortly submit a report on their eighth visit to the Kashmir Valley to Union home minister P Chidambaram.

india Updated: May 20, 2011 19:09 IST

Centre's interlocutors on J&K on Friday said they would shortly submit a report on their eighth visit to the Kashmir Valley to Union home minister P Chidambaram.

"We interacted with about 30 delegations representing political parties, local government, RTI activists, civil rights' groups, farmers, youth and women's self-help groups during our visit. The views will be reflected, along with our analyses, in the report that we will submit shortly to Union Home Minister," chief interlocutor Dileep Padgaonkar told PTI before leaving for New Delhi.

The three-member team, comprising academician Radha Kumar and MM Ansari, arrived in Srinagar on May 15 on their eight visit to the Valley since their appointment in October last year in the aftermath of the summer unrest.

"Our meetings in Pulwama and Charar-e-Sharief yielded valuable insights into what the people of the state seek by way of a political settlement in Jammu and Kashmir. As is only to be expected, the views expressed in all the meetings were diverse to the extreme," Padgaonkar said.

He said the team will visit the state again for interacting with newly-elected panchs and sarpanchs.

"We hope to cover the remaining districts and areas that we have not covered so far in our forthcoming visits to continue, and conclude, extensive consultations among the stake-holders, particularly the newly elected Sarpanchs and members of Panchayats and other civil society functionaries," he said.

Giving details of their hectic tour, he said the team attended the inaugural session of a conference organised by Jammu and Kashmir peace foundation and also interacted with a large gathering of youth in Srinagar and other parts.

In Charar-e-Sharief in Budgam district, Padgaonkar said the team paid obeisance at the famous shrine of sufi saint Sheikh Nooruddin Noorani and recalled his lasting contribution to the pluralism and tolerance of Kashmiri society, an essential element in the search of peace.

"We also offered prayers at the Siddhi Vinayak Temple at Habbakadal in downtown Srinagar, where worship continues in this ancient temple despite the mass exodus of the faithful -the Kashmiri pandits - more than 20 years ago," he said.

The chief interlocutor said the team during their visit to Shaikhupora in Budgam noted the enthusiasm with which Kashmiri pandits are returning to the Valley, and the warm reception they have been accorded by the people.

"We also heard about some of their problems, which we have shared with the state government," he said, adding the state government has assured them that the problems would be addressed without delay.

The interlocutors called on state Governor NN Vohra and had discussions with chief minister Omar Abdullah, president of National Conference Farooq Abdullah and other senior political leaders including state secretary of CPI(M) Mohammad Yusuf Tarigami and PDP Legislator Nizamuddin Bhat, he said.

Padgaonkar said the team also discussed various issues relating to security with Director General of State Police Kuldeep Khoda and had a session with Chief State Information Commissioner Ghulam Rasool Sofi.

"The DGP informed us that police verification for acquiring a passport has been simplified. Passports will be delivered at a swift pace, especially for citizens wishing to perform Haj, as per the directions issued by the chief minister," he said.

Referring to a report in a national newspaper about certain adverse remarks allegedly made by the team about the manner in which the state government responded to the tragic incidents of last summer, Padgaonkar said, "stories of this nature are an insult to the memory of the scores of children who died in those incidents."

"Exploiting the tragedy to settle personal goals or to pursue petty political ambitions goes against the grain of all civilised behaviour," he said.

"It only serves to frustrate efforts to evolve a broad consensus on a political settlement that will be acceptable to all the people in Jammu and Kashmir - to all its regions and sub-regions - and to all its communities who contribute to the rich pluralism of the state," he added.

First Published: May 20, 2011 19:07 IST