J&K Interlocutors Have Had Impact: PC1 November 2010
The Indian Express
New Delhi: Notwithstanding the criticism they have attracted over some of their public comments, Union Home Minister P Chidambarm today backed the efforts being made by the government-appointed interlocutors for Jammu and Kashmir and said they had been successful in changing the discourse of the debate in the state. “There is a sense of expectation among the people in the state that their concerns are being addressed in a serious manner. The interlocutors have changed the discourse of the debate. We hope that the people in Jammu and Kashmir will now give peace a chance and dialogue a chance,” Chidambaram told reporters here. “Jammu and Kashmir is fast returning to being normal. It is still too early to say that normalcy has been restored, though,” he said. Regarding some controversial statements made by the interlocutors - journalist Dileep Padgaonkar, academic Radha Kumar and former information commissioner M M Ansari - Chidambaram said that had happened only because the media had been demanding a “ball-by-ball” commentary from them. “This is not a cricket match. The media should not ask for, and the interlocutors should not give, a ball-by-ball commentary on what they are doing,” he said. On writer-activist Arundhati Roy’s reported remarks suggesting that Kashmir had never been a part of India, Chidambaram said the Delhi Police had already “acted” in the “letter and spirit of the law”. “Deciding not to take any action is also an action,” he said. “Section 124(A) of the Indian Penal Code calls for both deterrence and punishment and the correct interpretation of this law is that unless there is a direct incitement to violence, the state must show tolerance and forbearance. The Delhi Police has acted in letter and spirit of this law,” he said.