Radha Kumar To Stay J&K Interlocutor9 August 2011
Times of India
New Delhi: The government has refused to accept the resignation of J&K interlocutor, Radha Kumar. Kumar had sent in her resignation to home minister P Chidambaram on Monday. The resignation was a fallout of differences between her and M M Ansari, another member of the team, over her participation at a Kashmir conference in Brussels in 2006, which was organized by Majeed Tramboo, an ISI-funded Kashmir lobbyist. Kumar withdrew her resignation after the home minister sent word that he would not accept it. A resignation by a panel member during Parliament session could make the government prone to further criticism from the Opposition. In a statement home ministry spokesperson said, 'MHA clarifies that Radha Kumar, interlocutor has not tendered her resignation. The interlocutors have completed their visit of J&K and are busy finalizing their report.' Ansari, formerly with the Planning Commission, has attacked both Dileep Padgaonkar and Kumar for attending Kashmir conferences by Ghulam Nabi Fai and Majeed Tramboo, respectively. Fai and Tramboo have been exposed as fully paid agents of ISI. Kumar has clarified that she attended the Brussels conference after being asked by the Indian government to do so, and had worked closely with the ministry of external affairs during her trip. She told TOI that her views were rejected by Tramboo, who later wrote long articles denouncing her. Padgaonkar clarified that he was not aware Fai was an ISI agent when he accepted his invitation. Home ministry sources said that criticism against Kumar and Padgaonkar was unjustified because the fact that these organizations were funded by the ISI was known only to a limited number of people within the Indian intelligence agencies. It was unfair then to presume that the two interlocutors were fully aware of Fai and Tramboo's background when they participated in the seminars. Earlier, Chidambaram had defended Padgaonkar calling the criticism 'unfair' when questioned on whether it was appropriate for the latter to attend a conference organized by a Pakistani sympathizer. Differences between the interlocutors have been around for some time. The panel has been giving finishing touches to the final report for the government, though a copy of the interim report has apparently been leaked. The final report is likely to be submitted by end-September, though it's unlikely that the three interlocutors will return to J&K any time soon.