J&K interlocutors recommend ‘meaningful autonomy’

It is learnt that while avoiding the "pre-1952 status" phraseology, the report advocated for ensuring a "meaningful autonomy" for Jammu and Kashmir.

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: The three-member interlocutors’ panel on Jammu and Kashmir -- journalist Dilip Padgaonkar, academic Radha Kumar and former civil servant M M Ansari -- on Wednesday submitted a report to Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, suggesting a “roadmap” to address the Kashmir issue.

It is learnt that while avoiding the "pre-1952 status" phraseology, the report advocated for ensuring a "meaningful autonomy" for Jammu and Kashmir.

Sources informed that the report is said to have recommended the withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and the Disturbed Areas Act from the state.

The report is said to have suggested developmental councils for all the three regions of the state -- Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh -- and devolution of powers to the sub-regions. In addition, the report has recommended massive economic package to address the huge unemployment and infrastructure development in the state.
Announced exactly a year ago, the team of three interlocutors completed their report within the time-frame of one year given by the government.

The interlocutors visited various parts of the valley and met a cross section of people to understand their view points.

The interlocutors` panel had met nearly 700 delegations during the past one year. The interlocutors claim that in the report they have taken into account both mainstream and off-stream opinions. The report has also put on record the perceptions of the people the team had interacted with during the past one year and even the views of the separatists, who refused to interact with them.

After presenting the report, Padgaonkar, the chief interlocutor said, "The Home Minister has told us he would now take the report forward".
"We have suggested a roadmap at the end of the report and it was up to the government to carry forward the recommendations," Padgaonkar said.

"We have endeavoured to address all aspects on Kashmir -- political, economic, social and cultural," he maintained.

Noted academician Radha Kumar had earlier been engaged in back-room discussions with moderate Hurriyat Chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani but after her appointment as the Centre`s interlocutor, the separatist leaders stayed away from her. The separatists say the interlocutors` report is immaterial.

The third member of the team, M M Ansari, professor and Director at the Hamdard University and an educationist and economist before becoming an Information Commissioner, was a surprise inclusion in the team as he had no association with Kashmir during his tenure as a bureaucrat.

With Agency inputs