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J-K interlocutors moot ‘meaningful autonomy’
Submit report to Home Minister Chidambaram
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 12
Advocating “meaningful autonomy” and speedy development, the three interlocutors on Jammu and Kashmir submitted their report to Home Minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday, a year after they were appointed to draw a roadmap to peace, sources said.

The three-member panel comprising journalist Dileep Padgaonkar, academician Radha Kumar and former Information Commissioner MM Ansari regretted that people with separatist tendencies in Jammu and Kashmir had not come and met them.

Minutes after emerging from the North Block office, Padgaonkar, while replying to queries, said, “Had we spoken to separatists, the report would have been more worthwhile… They (separatists) missed the bus”. The report has taken into account both mainstream and off-stream opinions and in particular, various inputs from both Hurriyat factions whose stands on the matter are known publicly, he stated.

He went on to add that the aim of the report was to provide “a permanent political settlement in the state of J&K”.

The report would be shared with the all-party delegation and after that, put in the public domain. “We want a debate on the matter and would like to be available to the all-party delegation,” the veteran journalist added. The panel was formed after an all-party meet last year. The appointments were made when Kashmir situation had turned grim following street protests and killing of more than 100 youth.

Padgaonkar, who addressed mediapersons on behalf of the team, said, “This is the most accurate, comprehensive and broadest possible spectrum of opinion.” The team met 600 delegations across 22 districts of J&K. It also attended three round table conferences in which people from all three regions - Jammu, Srinagar and Ladakh - participated and went on to attend three mass gatherings.

The team has indicated it was in favour of ‘meaningful autonomy’ for Kashmir but, according to sources, it has avoided any reference to the word “azadi”, which is a complex issue of self-determination raised and interpreted differently by various groups. Padgaonkar, when asked about this, said, “I counsel patience to all those willing to comment on the report.” He turned down suggestions that Yasin Malik, a separatist leader, had rejected the report, saying, “How did he have access to it?”

Sources said the interlocutors had emphasised the need to reduce the Army’s visibility and address human rights violations urgently. The trio has also suggested that the government consider reviewing the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). The team has also talked about lifting the Disturbed Areas Act (DAA) from areas which are now near normal.





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