MHA sets up group to draft major findings of report25 October 2011
The Daily Excelsior
Jammu: The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has set up a group within the Ministry to study the report submitted by three Interlocutors on Jammu and Kashmir and draft its major findings before calling an all party meeting next month. The major stake holders in the State including all mainstream parties and smaller groups would be called to the all party meeting in addition to all national parties. Official sources told the Excelsior that a group of senior officers in the MHA including K Skandan, Joint Secretary (Internal Security), Incharge Jammu and Kashmir Affairs has been assigned the task of finding out major extracts of the report submitted by the Interlocutors on October 12 as a prelude to convening an all party meeting on the report, which was aimed at finding a political solution to Kashmir problem. The MHA has asked the group of senior officers to go into the report submitted by three Interlocutors-Dileep Padgaonkar, a veteran journalist, Prof Radha Kumar, academician and MM Ansari, a former Information Commissioner, underline its major findings and prepare a draft paper on it before convening an all party meeting to discuss recommendations of the Interlocutors. 'The MHA team has already started its job and would be completing it in next few days after which the Home Ministry would find a suitable date for calling an all party meeting of national as well as State leaders’’, sources said, adding the meeting was expected to be convened next month. All major national political parties would be called to the meeting, they said and added that mainstream parties of Jammu and Kashmir including smaller groups were also likely to be invited for the meeting, which was proposed to be held at a large scale in New Delhi in, what is being called, a major attempt aimed towards finding a political solution to Kashmir problem. Ruling National Conference and its allies and opposition parties including the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), National Panthers Party, CPM and some Independent MLAs could also be called to the meeting. The Congress, which is also a coalition partner with the National Conference, and the BJP leaders from both national and State levels would be invited to the all party meet, sources said, adding the Central Government wanted to involve all stake holders on Jammu and Kashmir from national as well as State levels in discussion on recommendations of the Interlocutors. It was after an all party delegation led by Home Minister P Chidambaram and comprising Leaders of Opposition in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha including Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley besides other top leaders of national parties, who visited J&K and an all party meeting in the Union capital that a decision to appoint Interlocutors on J&K to hold talks with all stake holders was taken. The separatists barring moderate Hurriyat Conference leader Moulvi Abbas Ansari refrained from meeting the Interlocutors, who have, however, obtained view point of some of them including Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Moulvi Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Sajjad Lone and incorporated it in their report before finalizing their recommendations and submitting them to the Union Home Ministry. Sources said an exercise to draft major findings of the report was initiated by the Union Home Ministry within a week and assigned to senior officers. Union Home Secretary R K Singh, who was in Srinagar for two days, was monitoring preparation of a draft on recommendations of the Interlocutors, which would be submitted to the participants of all party meeting. Sources added that the Centre would like to invite as many political parties and groups as possible in the all party meeting to raise number of the stake holders but there was no possibility of sending an invite to the separatists as they were not part of the exercise initiated by the Interlocutors. Neither there was any possibility of the separatists attending the meeting. According to sources, all three Interlocutors including Mr Padgaonkar, Prof Kumar and Mr Ansari would be invited to the all party meeting to explain their report and major recommendations besides the view point they gathered from all three regions of the State during their year long exercise in which they covered all 22 districts and met nearly 700 delegations. The Interlocutors have already conveyed to the Union Home Ministry that they were ready to appear before the all party meeting, whenever it was called in New Delhi, to brief the national as well as State leadership of major political parties and groups to apprise them of their year long work. According to sources, the all party meeting was expected to be called next month as the Central Government wanted to announce some Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) to build on the peaceful summer in the Kashmir valley this year in contrast to last summer’s violence that claimed nearly 110 lives. Sources pointed out that some of the recommendations of the Interlocutors including release of stone pelters and some prisoners have already been conceded. The State has already set a process in motion for withdrawal of Disturbed Areas Act (DAA) leading to revocation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from urban areas of four to six districts of the State.