Will consult everyone, says Vohra
5 March 2003
Jammu: The Central Government's interlocutor for talks on Jammu and Kashmir, N.N. Vohra, today described the visit to Jammu as an attempt to establish initial contact with personalities in the State and the process of dialogue would continue. Speaking to a select group of reporters at the Deputy Chief Minister's chamber this evening, he said, 'I am here on a brief visit. My priority this time is to know the people with whom I am going to work in the times to come. This time, I am going to meet the people from the State Legislature and all the people holding important positions in it. Unless someone is out of town, my genuine desire is to meet everyone who matters in the State.' He wanted to make his task 'profitable'. This process would take a lot of time and required several sittings. Asked whether talks with the All-Party Hurriyat Conference were on his agenda, he said he had been appointed by the Centre and a statement had already been made on the floor of Parliament that talks would be held with every section of society willing to talk. 'I do not want to specifically name anyone in the State, but everyone is welcome to talk in this sincere exercise started by the Central Government. Any responsible person can meet me in Delhi or in the State when I am having the rounds of discussions.' The Deputy Chief Minister, Mangat Ram Sharma, told The Hindu that in his meeting with Mr. Vohra he gave the viewpoint of his Government and the party he represented. He made it clear that any talks had to include every region and every section.The Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council chairman, Thupstan Chewang, and the Cabinet Minister for Information Technology and Employment, Nawang Rigzin Jora, conveyed the views of the people of Leh and Kargil. 'In clear words, we informed the interlocutor that any talks on the State could not ignore the people of Ladakh, and even their aspirations and concern will have to be accommodated in any dialogue process.' Sources added that in the meeting Mr. Vohra was invited to visit Ladakh and he readily agreed to do so. In his one-day stay at Jammu, Mr. Vohra met the Speaker, Tara Chand, and the Chairman of the J&K Legislative Council, Abdul Rashid Dar. Mr. Vohra was scheduled to meet the Leader of the Opposition, Ghulam Mohhiddin Shah, and the Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, at his residence.