Kashmir interlocutors meet stone pelters in jail

Visiting the Central jail for the second time in two days, the team of interlocutors on Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday met "hardened" terrorists, militants.

Last Updated: Oct 24, 2010, 23:33 PM IST

Srinagar: Visiting the Central jail for the second time in two days, the team of interlocutors on Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday met "hardened" terrorists, militants who infiltrated from Pakistan and stone-pelters and heard their views on the dialogue process in the state.

"We met hardened terrorists, youths arrested on charges of disturbing public order and a woman who is now jailed for three months," eminent journalist Dileep Padgaonkar, who heads the three-member panel, said. The team is on a four-day visit to the state and is making its first visit after it was appointed by the Centre 10 days ago.

The members heard the views of these prison inmates on issues relating to J&K, he said after the team went to the Central jail here.

"We impressed upon them that violence is not going to lead them anywhere. They have agreed to engage in a dialogue," Padgaonkar said.

The interlocutors had visited the jail yesterday and interacted with several detainees for a couple of hours.

"We were yesterday in Central jail for more than two hours meeting militants who had come from across the LoC (Line of Control). They wanted to talk to us and we will go again to meet them," Padgaonkar said before making the second trip to the prison.

Asked if the panel would hold talks with militants, Padgaonkar said they will talk to everyone. "We are not going to go across the LoC (to talk to militants). That is not our mandate. But we have said we will talk to everyone who wishes to talk to us. So why leave anyone out," he said.

To a query if the interlocutors would reach out to separatists who have refused to meet them, Padgaonkar said he was not a person to call on someone "uninvited".

"If we are invited, we will meet anyone," he added. Both moderate and hardline factions of the Hurriyat Conference, headed by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Syed Ali Shah Geelani respectively, have termed the appointment of the panel as a futile exercise. Farooq has already said he will not be meeting the panel.

Padgaonkar said his team was different from those which visited in the past.

"You have to look at the statement of interlocutors from the beginning. We are the first to talk about a comprehensive solution of Kashmir (problem)," he said.

PTI