J&K: On their second visit, interlocutors meet several delegations

Centre`s interlocutors on Jammu and Kashmir, on their second visit to the state, on Wednesday met and interacted with several religious and poli1tical delegations in Kargil district in Ladakh.

Srinagar: Centre`s interlocutors on Jammu
and Kashmir, on their second visit to the state, on Wednesday met and
interacted with several religious and poli1tical delegations
in Kargil district in Ladakh.

Professor Radha Kumar and Information Commissioner M M
Ansari, two of the three interlocutors, arrived in Kargil in
the morning on day two of their visit to Kashmir Valley and
met a number of delegations.

These included that of Imam Khomenei Memorial Trust
(IKMT), Islamia School, the National Conference, the Congress,
the BJP, the PDP and the Buddhist Association Zanskar.

The chairman of the Kargil Hill Development Council
also met the two Centrally-appointed interlocutors.
Journalist Dilip Padgaonkar, who heads the 3-member
team of interlocutors, is is out of the country.

"During our meeting with the interlocutors, we firmly
opposed any move or idea to divide the state on religious,
regional or linguistic lines," IKMT`s representative Asgar Ali
Khan Karbalaie told agency.

"Jammu and Kashmir should be one entity as it was in
1947," he said after the meeting.

Karbalaie said he also conveyed to the interlocutors
the wish of the people of Kargil for resolving the "political
(Kashmir) issue" by holding talks with all stakeholders.

"We also demanded creation of Ladakh division for
better development of Leh and Kargil districts. Everyone talks
of three regions in the state -- Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh --
but constitutionally there are only two provinces," he said.

Yesterday, Kumar and Ansari visited Leh district where
they met a cross-section of the people in the pre-dominantly
Buddhist district.

Karbalaie said he brought to interlocutors` notice the
eruption of tension and disturbances during the Lok Sabha poll
in Ladakh region.

"We have one Lok Sabha seat for Leh and Kargil. This
often creates tension between Buddhists and Muslims. We
suggested the Rajya Sabha seat should be reserved for one
district and the Lok Sabha for the other," he said.
Demands for opening up of Kargil-Skardu road on the
pattern of Srinagar-Muzaffarabad and Poonch-Rawalakote routes
and providing direct telephone facility with PoK, Gilgit and
Baltistan were also raised, Karbalaie said.

"We are not able to talk to our relatives in Gilgit
and Baltistan due to the one-sided jamming of telecom
services," he said.

Kargil Hill Development Council chairman Kachoo Ahmad
Ali Khan said "we raised the issue of connectivity of Kargil
with rest of the country during winter."

They stressed on expediting work on construction of a
tunnel at Zojilla pass that would connect Ladakh region with
rest of the country throughout the year, he said.

"We also sought introduction of small air flights
to Kargil," Khan said.

He said he brought to the notice of interlocutors
the refusal of army to vacate 100 hectares of land in Kargil`s
Kurbathang area.

The land was required for expanding the district
headquarters’ town, Khan said.

"We have given them 150 hectares at Kumputhang in
Sanko area which is much safer than Kurbathang as it is out of
the firing range of Pak troops. But, they are not vacating the
land."
Later, the interlocutors flew to Baramulla where
they met several delegations including that of the Numberdar
Association, Transporters and a political party.

The two-member team will visit the border town of
Uri, near the LoC, tomorrow.

During their visit to Leh yesterday, the interlocutors
met a cross-section of the people who raised demands like the
grant of Union Territory status to Ladakh region and inclusion
of Ladakhi in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.

They also demanded more relief for rehabilitation of
villagers rendered homeless by the cloudburst in August last.

The interlocutors had described their first visit to
the state last month as successful.

However, separatists did not meet them terming the
exercise as a futile one.

The NC delegation stressed for more autonomy for the
state and also demanded opening up of Zojila tunnel.

The Congress demanded one more Rajya Sabha seat for
Kargil besides opening up of Zojila tunnel and provincial
status for Ladakh.

The PDP also demanded provincial status for Ladakh.

The BJP opposed certain remarks of the delegation
representing Al-Sunnat Wal Jamaat saying Kashmir would always
be a part of India.

PTI