Majority for peaceful means for solving Kashmir problem: Team



Jammu/Srinagar: Centre's interlocutors on Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday said majority of the organisations and groups they met during their visits to the state favoured peaceful means for arriving at a political solution to the Kashmir problem.

These organisations were of the opinion that violence should not be allowed to scuttle such an exercise, journalist Dileep Padgaonkar, heading the team of interlocutors, told reporters in Jammu.

Though various delegations gave diverse opinions, they were broadly of the view that a solution to the Kashmir issue should be found through peaceful means, he said.

"The groups are also of the view that the solution should be acceptable to the people and all the three regions of the state," Padgaonkar said.

Flanked by two other interlocutors -- academician Radha Kumar and former Central Information Commissioner M M Ansari, he said any settlement should rest on the pillars of democracy and the rule of law.

Respect for different faiths and cultures in the state should also be kept in mind before arriving at any settlement, Padgaonkar said winding up the five-day visit of the Central to the Jammu region.

"Political, economic and administrative powers must be equally shared by the three regions and there should be an effective devolution of such powers to district, block and Panchayat levels," he said.

"We assured the delegations their views will be fully reflected in the report that we will submit to the government along with our recommendations," Padgaonkar said.

The three interlocutors, on their third visit to the state, arrived in the Jammu region on December 17 and met a cross-section of the people.

They interacted with over 100 social, political and religious groups in Jammu, Rajouri and Poonch districts.

"The delegations represented political parties, ethnic and religious communities, separatist groups, and legal, business and educational interests," Pagaonakar said.

The Central team later arrived in Srinagar where it met a delegation of youths as part of its efforts to find a broad consensus on solving the Kashmir problem politically.

"This is part of the process that we have started in October to meet all shades of opinion in Jammu and Kashmir," Padgaonkar said.

"There are lots of people who will meet the team during its visit to the summer capital before we return to New Delhi on December 23," he said.

The Centre appointed the interlocutors on October 13 after Kashmir valley witnessed a turbulent summer which left over 100 civilains dead and thousands others, including security force personnel, injured.

PTI