Srinagar: Stating that the group was different from previous similar initiatives on Kashmir, the three interlocutors appointed by New Delhi Saturday spelled out their agenda to find out a â€œpermanent comprehensive political settlement of Kashmir dispute.â€
â€œOur priority mandate is to have dialogue with cross section of opinion to find permanent comprehensive political settlement of Kashmir dispute. It is complex problem lingering on for 60 years, there has been lot of suffering in this state and we would try to find out a solution through political negotiations with every stake holder for political settlement,â€ veteran journalist Dileep Padgaonkar told reporters after the group arrived for four-day visit to valley.
The other members of the team are educationist Professor Radha Kumar and Information Commissioner M M Ansari.
â€œOur focus is to address the political dimension of Kashmir dispute. We are here to have dialogue with every shade of opinion and it is our groupâ€™s view that we should listen to people with open mind and big heart. We would like to focus on youth. When we met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Sonoa Gandhi (UPA chairperson), they told us to listen to them for future is youth, listen to the women of Kashmir,â€ Padgaonkar added, a Press Bureau of India correspondent present on the occasion, said.
Asked about his opinion on Kashmir as interlocutor, he said, â€œIt can generate only after dialogue. If we predetermine that we have some magic formula, it wouldnâ€™t be good. We want to meet people, listen to them for what they wantâ€¦ There is different perception in Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh and this question is resolving in our mind that whether or not we will be able to proceed, keeping in mind the divergent opinion. Had we came with some of readymade formula, there would have been no fun of dialogue.â€
To question about meeting separatists and five-point formula put forward by Syed Ali Shah Geelani led Hurriyat Conference, the journo said that some has five point formula, others talk of self rule or autonomy. â€œAll these need to be listened carefully and if there is any clarification we need, we can find it out. We can also find out whether at some point there is any overlap and we have work hard to find out that .For last sixty years there have been slogans of change in constitution, integration, merger with Pakistan autonomy or Azadi, we are ready to listen to any one,â€ he added.
He said that group would go out and try to reach out to people. â€œWe will visit hospitals, jails, go to peoples home. We will go to separatists if they want to meet us. I have already met some of them after being part of Kashmir committee led by Ram Jethmalani and in that capacity I got to know them and I can go to the extend that I have very good equation with some of them .We donâ€™t have confrontation attitude.. There can be compulsion why they say yes, no, futile; we have to understand their views. We want to tell them that we will drop at their gate any movement they want to meet us. Important is not protocol but solution by understanding people. When we sit together, we get to know each other, get clarification on issues.â€
He said that as the group has been given one years term, they will be submitting suggestions or recommendations to government after every visit. â€œWhatever recommendations or suggestions, we will be given it every month to government and we have been given assurance at the highest level of government and highest level of political leadership that they will address the suggestions and recommendations made by our group,â€ he said.
Asked how the group was different from similar initiative in past, he said, â€œIn past there were private initiatives including Ram Jethmalani but ours has the endorsement at the highest level of government and political leadership.â€
Second difference, he said, is what has been spelt out by Home Minister P Chidambaram that Kashmir is a unique situation, born under unique circumstances and requires unique solution. â€œOur effort would be to reach out to large consensus as possible for permanent comprehensive political settlement of Kashmir dispute. However because of the complexities associated with this, you have to keep expectations low.â€