K Panel To Move On With Or Without Geelani24 February 2011
Srinagar: Stating that they will move forward with their efforts even if hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani did not participate in the talks,the three-member team of interlocutors Thursday visited Sopore and Handwara victim families. Commenting on an invite sent by the panel to Hurriyat (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani to participate in dialogue, the interlocutors said they have shot a written invitation to the separatist leader and urged him to fix an appointment as per his wishes. ”We invited him three times and even sent him written invitation and want to meet him wherever he wishes. However, we didn’t get any response as yet,' Dilip Padgaonkar, heading the three-member panel, said and added that they asked him to give in writing his agenda on Kashmir but 'that too was not responded to'. He said the panel will move forward with the process of reaching out to the people in Kashmir even if Geelani did not participate in talks. The panel, on reaching Sopore town in the morning, first met the family members of the two teenage sisters in Dak Bunglow and expressed sympathies with them. The closed-door meeting lasted for about 20 minutes. Later talking to mediapersons, one of the interlocutors, Padgaonkar said they will discuss the plight of the bereaved family with both the Centre and State Governments. He said they will ask for relief for them as the family reels under poverty. Terming the killing of the two sisters as a gruesome act, Padgaonkar said such killings are being condemned throughout India. One of the family members, who met the interlocutors, said the panel asked them whether they could recognize the persons responsible for the killing. The family members said the persons were masked and could not be recognized. Pertinently, the two teenage sisters Akhtar (19) and Arifa (18) were killed on January 30 after some unknown gunmen dragged them from their house and shot them dead in Raheem Sahib area. Asked why the panel did not hold any round of talks in Sopore so far, even when they visited almost all parts of the valley, he said they will visit the township in April to check on the public opinion. The K panel next visited Chogul, Handwara and expressed their sympathies with the family of Manzoor Ahmad, who was killed in an army ambush early this month. “We share your grief. The whole of India is with you and justice would be delivered,” said Radha Kumar while hugging Sarwa Begum, the mother of Manzoor. She said the army admitted their mistake and magisterial inquiry was on, adding the panel will again visit the family in April to know if justice had been delivered. She said they will also ask for relief for the family. Inquiring about the incident, the panel was told that army took Manzoor away from his house during the night and shot him dead near the bridge. Meanwhile, locals demanded an end to the 'Naka' in the area to stop any such killings in future. The panel was told that the incident was not first of its kind and that the army later comes up with the usual claim that it was a “mistaken identity”.