Civil Society grills former interlocutors
‘Report Focuses On Administrative Issues’
Srinagar, Aug 30: The meeting of the civil society members called by the former interlocutors-turned-resource persons, Dileep Padgaonkar and Radha Kumar, to seek feedback on their report witnessed heated exchange of words between the participants and hosts here on Thursday. Most of the participants were of the opinion that New Delhi had appointed the interlocutors in 2010 to pave the way for Kashmir resolution but the report submitted by them had ignored this vital aspect and instead focused more on administrative issues.
Participants told the interlocutors that New Delhi putting their report in cold storage for nearly seven months and showing no intention to implement it had put their credibility at stake. A legislator took the former interlocutors head-on by tearing into pieces the summary of recommendations submitted by them. “These papers are of no use to us. Tell us what you have done to get the Kashmir issue resolved?” the legislator shouted.
“We are being killed tortured and humiliated. Your interlocution has not changed the ground situation and it continues to be grim,” he added.
As the legislator was trying to put his point across, one of the participants interrupted him saying, “We cannot tolerate anything against our country. He (the legislator) cannot speak against the country.”
However, other participants interrupted him. “You cannot stop a person from putting across his views. He has got the right to speak. When your turn comes you can say whatever you want. If you believe that JK is an integral part of India you can state it,” participants said.
The legislator said that despite recommendations made by the interlocutors separatist leaders are not being provided any political space. “Check the records and see how many times Geelani Sahab has been allowed to offer Friday prayers in the past two years. It seems only stones wake up New Delhi,” he said.
A retired bureaucrat castigated the former interlocutors for being “apologetic” in their approach. “You have done a wonderful job by compiling this report as it is an exhaustive exercise, but you have been apologetic while recommending certain things. Had you been bit bold your report had the potential of generating a huge debate,” he said.
The retired bureaucrat said that he could understand the compulsions of the former interlocutors. “You had your own constraints. The ambiguity in your report has defeated the very purpose of it,” he added.
One of the participants stressed on the point that report submitted by them should have laid stress on return of Kashmiri Pandits, who were displaced from the Valley in early nineties. “You have just given the passing reference about return of KPs to the Valley but you have not suggested concrete methodology for them to return,” he said.
On this the legislator shot back saying, “If you want to come back you will have to stay with us. Providing you with a separate homeland won’t be possible.”
A lecturer from University of Kashmir said that for her mainstream leadership means resistance leaders and not the ones who are in power. “Your report states that talks should be held with the Hurriyat leaders but the fact is that they represent the aspirations of a huge chunk of the society and they are not ready to hold any conditional dialogue,” she added.
A prominent businessman said the recommendations of interlocutors are nothing more than governance related issues. “The issues which you have discussed in your report are day to day issues. There is nothing concrete in it,” he said.
Referring to one of the recommendations which states that the JK should be compensated for hydel power losses by meeting equity capital needs of all its hydel projects and enhancing of state’s power share from the NHPC run hydel projects from the existing 12% to 30% and gradually raise it, the businessman said, “We don’t want royalty. Our point is clear that all the power projects should be returned to the state, if it happens we will become self reliant and we won’t need any aid from New Delhi.”
“We have already rejected you recommendation that Dulhasti Power Project should be returned to the state. We want all the power projects should be returned to us,” the businessman said. “You have mentioned about the Indus Water Treaty (IWT) in your report. It seems you want that Kashmiris should create hue and cry about it so that water is stopped to Pakistan. We as Kashmiris have been demanding that we should be compensated for the losses by India, Pakistan and World Bank, and we want to ask the World Bank how it facilitated an agreement in a disputed area.”
One of the prominent civil society members said that recommendations of interlocutors vindicate the stand of Kashmiris that New Delhi has two yard sticks. “Your recommendations are nothing more than an administrative package. You want people of Kashmir to get the basic amenities and facilities which people of other states have got more than six decades ago,” he said. “No doubt you have worked hard to compile the report but I am afraid that it will go into a dustbin.”
One of the senior columnists was of the opinion that New Delhi has made Kashmir hostage to its security and energy needs. “The NHPC was floated in 1975 with the basic investment of Rs 2000 million over the years it has turned into a power giant. The NHPC generates a total of 5295 MW of electricity out of which 1680 MW is generated in JK that means NHPC generates one third of the power from JK. After paying taxes NHPC in the year 2008, 2009 recorded a profit of Rs 1050 crore it increased to Rs 2090 crore in the next year. Such a huge profit has not been recorded even in the Silicon Valley.”
One of the participants was of the opinion that Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) should not be revoked. “If AFSPA is revoked it would mean normalcy has returned and after that no one will talk about the resolution of the Kashmir issue. The AFSPA should remain there till K-issue is resolved,” the participant said.
Lastupdate on : Thu, 30 Aug 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 30 Aug 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 31 Aug 2012 00:00:00 IST
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