Endeavors to narrow areas of difference: Interlocutors
‘Want Separatists On Board; Forces Cut Will Take Place’
Jammu, Jan 19: New Delhi appointed interlocutors Wednesday said that endeavors are being made to narrow the ‘areas of differences’ for engaging all stakeholders in a dialogue process to search for a definitive political solution in Jammu and Kashmir.
“We are examining all the documents submitted by various groups in Jammu and Kashmir and we have received four documents viz. Self rule of PDP, Greater Autonomy of National Conference, Achievable Nationhood by Sajjad Lone and a document by Awami National Conference so far. Our aim will be narrow the areas of differences and we would like the inputs from the separatists also,” the chief interlocutor, Dalip Padgaonkar told reporters here.
He said that they are in the process of producing or synthesizing a comprehensive proposal after looking at the areas of conversions in these detailed documents. “We would see what the areas are and where differences persist,” he said. “And therefore we once again reiterate that we would like to engage separatists in the dialogue process.”
Padgaonkar said the panel had formally written to the separatists, requesting them to send the published documents or publicly declared stand on the issue. “We will factor those in synthesis of a comprehensive proposal,” he said.
To a question on ‘pro-Pakistan’ sentiment in Kashmir and ‘pro-India feel’ in Jammu, he said: “We don’t attach any level of patriotism to any group. All stakeholders must be engaged in the dialogue process to search for a definitive political solution. We have come across diverse and divergent viewpoints and as I said our endeavour will be to narrow down the differences.”
Over the idea of silent dialogue with the separatists in Kashmir, Padgaonkar remarked: “Any process that facilitates the emergence of broad consensus for political settlement is fine with us. We don’t insist any kind of dialogue that is held under the glare of media. Whatever is convenient to them (separatist) is fine with us provided the main aim of the dialogue is achieved.”
He further said that “We have no ego as such and we can go and meet people anywhere where they wish to meet us. It’s a matter of mutual convenience. We will have no hesitation to the place where they (separatists) wish to meet us.”
Padgaonkar reiterated that the panel has laid no red lines to discuss any proposal. “We were criticized by some section when we invited a group of Kashmir University students to express their idea on Azadi. Asking for just articulation of ideas does not mean we have accepted them. If the BJP has some ideas on Article 370 and if it could substantiate the proposal with reasons we are here to listen to them also.”
Padgaonkar, however, said that the people should draw a distinction between “airing of ideas and proposal” and their endorsement by the group. “We have not endorsed any point of view so far as we are in process of listening to all stakeholders. Whatever we have communicated so far is the gist of what we have heard,” he said.
Highlighting the outcome of the ongoing dialogue process with different shades of opinion, Padgaonkar said that certain common features emerged from the discussion on a political settlement including that the settlement must not threat the unity and integrity of Jammu and Kashmir as a single unit and there should be no bifurcation or trifurcation of the state (on this subject different voices are heard in Leh) and the special status of Jammu and Kashmir must not be disturbed.
He said the efforts should be made to vest the state’s constituent units with such powers which may be required to address the political economic, social and cultural aspirations of the people.
“Powers must be devolved to the constituent units in a multi-layered manner reaching down to the Panchayat level to allow for effective democratic participation in the development,” he said, adding “The exchange of people, goods and ideas across the LoC must be facilitated through hassle-free procedures.”
He however said the country’s internal and external security concerns must be fully factored into the political settlement.
He said the discussions enabled the panel to gain deeper and shaper insights into the urgent and long-standing demands and grievances of people in Jammu province. “These include a sense of disparity in the allocation of development funds between the constituent units of the state, an imbalanced representation of the people of the region in political institutions and the civilian bureaucracy,” he added. “Our attention was especially drawn to the issue of delimitation of constituencies and to the need to strengthen Panchayat Raj institution along the lines of the existing pattern prevalent in other states of the country.”
‘FORCES CUT IN JK WILL TAKE PLACE’
In response to reported differences between the Union Home Ministry and the Army over proposed forces cut in Jammu and Kashmir, the interlocutors tried to downplay the differences, saying ‘both are going to be on same page on the issue.’
“I do not think so,” veteran journalist Dileep Padgaonkar, who heads the team of three interlocutors, said in reply to a question on whether differences between the Army and Home Ministry could create problems in the state.
“I have good reason to believe that this endeavour (forces reduction) is going to happen,” he remarked.
Padgaonkar said a dialogue was underway to ensure that Home Secretary G K Pillai’s announcement regarding the reduction of forces is facilitated and that Army and the Ministry are ‘on the same page’ on the issue.
“Why don’t we allow both of them (Army and MHA) to engage in a dialogue to settle this question? I keep on repeating and I repeat yet again that both are going to be on the same page on the issue,” Padgaonkar said.
The Home Secretary, on January 14, had said that the Central Government was contemplating reducing the strength of security forces in Jammu and Kashmir by 25 per cent but the Chief of Army and General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Northern Command had opposed the proposal, saying situation was not conducive for forces cut in Kashmir.
Lastupdate on : Wed, 19 Jan 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 19 Jan 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 20 Jan 2011 00:00:00 IST
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