Interlocutors Mulling New Strategy To Woo Separatists27 December 2010
Srinagar: Even as a parliamentary delegation and various other groups have called on separatist leaders since September, the three-member Kashmir panel is yet to establish a rapport with top Hurriyat leadership. Despite repeated phone calls by interlocutors, the separatists are still resisting all the attempts aimed at engaging them in a ‘constructive dialogue.’ Senior journalist Dilip Padgaonkar, who is one of the three interlocutors, said the panel would soon meet to draw up a ‘new strategy’ to involve the Hurriyat factions, which are widely considered as main stakeholders in the proposed dialogue. “So far we have been patient enough. We will sit and discuss how to reach out to them. It has been our endeavor to take them on board,” Padgaonkar said while expressing satisfaction over various sessions of public interactions during past weeks. It may be recalled that the interlocutors, also comprising academician Radha Kumar and bureaucrat M M Ansari, recently announced that they would “call on anybody without prior appointment”. The apolitical nature of the panel besides its weak mandate is seen as the key reason for separatists’ reluctance. Senior Separatist leader, Syed Ali Geelani while confirming that the interlocutors had sought a meeting with him said that he, however, refused to meet them. “One of the interlocutors called our office asking for a meeting but we have already cleared our stand that we will boycott them,” he said. Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said that he has also been contacted by the interlocutors for a meeting. “During their second visit to the valley one of the interlocutors contacted me on phone asking for a meeting,” Mirwaiz informed. He added that he refused to meet them as per the stand taken by his party regarding meeting the three interlocutors appointed by Indian Government. “For those who have a visible government label should know that we have already put forward the five recommendations to make an environment for any activity including dialogue process and the reason in meeting other political groups who are not visibly sent by the government is to convey the plight and miseries of Kashmiris so that they project the real picture in rest of India,” Geelani said when asked why he refused meeting with interlocutors even though he had interacted with the All Party delegation and MP Ram Vilas Paswan led group of MPs and civil society members. Replying to the same query, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said, “We have no problems in talking any government group provided the suggestions we have forwarded are accepted and implemented on ground. Moreover, the recommendations the panel has made and the implementation will define the sincerity and mandate of this group,” he said. “We have not closed our doors for anyone but then the Kashmiri leadership should not be taken for granted,” Mirwaiz added. Other leaders who have also met many non-governmental groups but refused to talk to the interlocutors maintain that the mandate of panel is limited. “What can the panel do when all the recommendations it has made have to be either implemented by the New Delhi or state authorities,” said Democratic Freedom party Chairman, Shabir Shah, who dismissed the present initiative as a “gimmick”.