J&K: `Separatists absence won’t make difference’

The Centre-appointed interlocutors on Jammu and Kashmir reiterated their wish to engage separatists.

Last Updated: Sep 17, 2011, 17:22 PM IST

Jammu: Reiterating their wish to engage separatists on their current visit to the state, the Centre-appointed interlocutors on Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday said non-engagement of separatists will however not make any difference to the final report to be submitted to government.

"Will the fact that they (separatists) did not engage with us, make a big difference to the report? The answer is no. It won`t. Because we have a fair idea what the factions of Hurriyat Conference and separatists stand for," Dilip Padgaonkar, head of the three-member panel, told reporters.

"In our report, we have taken into consideration five points of Hurriyat faction led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani and five points of All Party Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq," Padgaonkar, flanked by other members Professor
Radha Kumar and MM Ansari, said here.

He was replying to questions about the failure of interlocutors to rope in separatists for talks and the incomplete report arising out of it.

Padgaonkar, further, said the panel has taken into account the points of separatists and Hurriyat Conference. "We wanted to get a greater elaboration on these points which would have been possible by talking to them," he said.

"We are aware about the proposals separatists have made during the past ten years. We are aware of proposals of Yasin Malik of JKLF, proposals of Muslim Conference, Sajjad Lone`s Peoples Conference and various other groups of the separatists constituency," Professor Kumar said.

Replying on query about the efforts being made to bring separatists for talks, Padgaonkar said, "We have said right from the word go that we want to engage separatists. The reason why they are not engaged with us has to be given by them not by us".

"I request to direct this question to the separatists not us," the head of the interlocutors said.

"We reiterate that even at this hour if there is any sign that we get from the separatists that they wish to talk to us, we shall be pleased to do so anywhere, anytime and under any condition," Padgaonkar said.

Referring to the credibility of the report without the separatists talking to them, he said, "that is entirely for the people of J&K to decide. We have tried our best to reach out to them. We have stretched our hand to them but they did not respond and you should ask them."

The panel had met 700 delegations in J&K and reached to the people across the board, he said.

"In terms of gauging opinion of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, our exercise has been exhaustive," he said.