Most people in J&K against plebiscite: Interlocutors

Last Updated: Friday, January 21, 2011 - 18:48

Srinagar: Centre`s interlocutors on Jammu
and Kashmir Friday said most people who met them were not in
favour of implementation of UN resolutions on Kashmir seeking
plebiscite but favoured socio-economic and political
empowerment of people and devolution of power.

"As regards a permanent political settlement in Jammu
and Kashmir, a small but vocal section harped on UN
resolutions, plebiscite and self-determination resulting in
independence of the state as it existed before August 1947,"
head interlocutor Dileep Padgaonkar told reporters here.

The veteran journalist was briefing the media at the
conclusion of the group`s fourth visit to the state which
began early this week.

Padgaonkar said most of the people they met reiterated
their faith in democracy, fundamental rights, pluralism and
tolerance.

"By and large, however, most people we spoke to did
not refer to that option (UN resolutions) ... they sought the
empowerment of people to enable them realise in full measure
their political, economic, social and cultural aspirations,"
he said.

Padgaonkar said they also stressed the need to devolve
power to individuals and communities in all constituent units
of the state to avoid its division along ethnic or religious
lines.

"Both the empowerment and devolution, they (people)
insisted, would have to be backed by constitutional guarantees
and robust institutions for transparent, accountable,
inclusive and participatory governance," he said.

Padgaonkar, who was accompanied by former information
Commissioner MM Ansari, parried questions about his contact
with chairman of moderate faction of Hurriyat Conference
Mirwaiz Umar Farooq yesterday.

"I don`t wish to spend my time explaining, clarifying
and justifying anything. I have known separatist leaders in my
capacity as a member of the Kashmir committee headed by Mr
(Ram) Jethmalani. I have been in touch with them ever since
but there is no reason for me to explain each time,"
Padgaonkar said.

Breaking the ice, the interlocutors yesterday talked
to the Mirwaiz over phone discussing the situation in the
state and seeking time for a meeting. After the conversation,
which lasted for over 10 minutes, the Mirwaiz had said that
Padgaonkar had called him and wanted to meet "but we refused".

The Mirwaiz said Hurriyat Conference was not against a
dialogue but the process has to be "Kashmir-centric and
result-oriented".

The head interlocutor said his group did not have
direct contact with hardline Hurriyat faction chairman Syed
Ali Shah Geelani but they have sent a letter to him and other
separatist leaders to provide written proposals of their
perceived solution to Kashmir issue.

PTI




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