Let’s Talk: Interlocutors To Separatists10 February 2011
Srinagar: The New Delhi-appointed interlocutors have formally written to pro-freedom leadership inviting them for talks on Kashmir. “So far we have been taken up the issue (of talks with separatists) in public interactions. We have dispatched invitation letters to Geelani sahib, Mirwaiz sahib, Yasin Malik and Shabir Shah, formally inviting them for talks. Yesterday we sent letters to the leaders of the constituents of the (parallel factions of) Hurriyat Conferences and other parties too,” chief interlocutor and noted journalist Dileep Padgaonkar told Greater Kashmir over phone from New Delhi. However, Padgaonkar said it would require lot of patience on their side to wait for separatists’ response, and they won’t rush on with it. “We will wait for at least next 10 days for their response. They will definitely require time to think how to respond. But we are hopeful they will think in the interest of people,” he said. “I happen to know many of these leaders for long time now and their stand on number of issues. I respect the fact that they are taking time to make a decision.” The panel of interlocutors, also including academician Radha Kumar and former Election Commissioner MM Ansari, were appointed by New Delhi in October last year following the summer unrest in the Valley in which 112 civilians were killed in Police and CRPF action. The panel, which has been making monthly visits to JK, was expected to hold talks with all political parties, separatist groups, youth and students as part of New Delhi fresh initiative to solve Kashmir issue. Though it has asserted to come up with a roadmap on Kashmir in 9 months, they have failed to break the ice with the separatists who have been favoring right to self-determination. During their last visit to JK, the panel announced that it has asked for published documents on Kashmir from the separatists ‘to know their viewpoint for solving the larger question.’ “We had earlier sent letters to them on the issue. However there has been no response so far from any party. We will be highly grateful if they could let us know about their stand on Kashmir while they simultaneously decide on our invitation. We have been studying other documents very closely,” Padgaonkar said. Responding to a question that Geelani has been reiterating that New Delhi should accept his 5 conditions including “disputed nature” of Kashmir for holding any talks with Government of India, Padgaonkar said, “We are willing to talk without any condition on any matter brought on table by the separatists. Our approach is not to impose any condition. We are willing to discuss 5-point formula (of Geelani) and 4-point formula (of Mirwaiz),” Padgaonkar said. On their part pro-freedom leaders said they had already made their policy clear of not entering into any kind of dialogue with the interlocutors. Talking to Greater Kashmir over phone from New Delhi, Geelani said he has not received any invitation from interlocutors nor have they sent any letter to his Srinagar office. Responding to a question about talks with interlocutors, Geelani, who has gone to Delhi for receiving treatment, said, “We have made our stand clear that Hurriyat will not engage in any kind of dialogue with interlocutors. We have already suggested our roadmap for restoration of peace and holding any kind of talks with New Delhi,” he said. A close aide of Hurriyat Conference (M) Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said Padgaonkar had called Umar over phone ahead of latter’s trip to London and expressed willing to meet him. “However Mirwaiz declined to meet or hold any kind of talks with them. We haven’t received any invitation letter from interlocutors,” the aide said. On Monday, Mirwaiz said the Hurriyat was willing to enter into dialogue with Government of India if it accepts conglomerate’s four conditions including demilitarization, releasing all political prisoners and revoking special powers to force personnel including AFSPA.