Discussion on Interlocutors’ Report by India Foundation in Delhi
“THE entire problem of Kashmir is because of faulty Nehruvian approach that proved highly costly to the nation. Kashmir is an unfinished agenda for Pakistan and Government of India has run out of ideas, which is evident from the fact that the UPA Government under Dr Manmohan Singh has been appointing Working Groups and Interlocutors without any fair policy,” said Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Shri Arun Jaitley, while speaking at a discussion on Interlocutors’ Report in New Delhi on July 21. The discussion was organised by India Foundation.
For the first time after the release of the interlocutors’ report to public on May 24 this year the head of the interlocutors’ team Dileep Padgaokar offered himself to a free public interaction at the discussion. Former Union Minister Shri Arif Mohammed Khan and BJP national executive member Dr Jitendra Singh also participated in the discussion. The discussion was moderated by BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman. The discussion was well attended by intellectuals from across the country and many retired army officers. A large number of people from across the country, especially from Jammu and Kashmir, had come to participate in the discussion and well and fairly cornered Dileep Padgaonkar.
Shri Arif Mohammed Khan said Kashmir has to be seen from wider perspective. “This is a fact that for the last 30 years Pakistan and ISI have been working to destablise the region in the name of religion. The real troublemakers are sitting in safe havens across the border. My concern is not with the content of the report. I want to know whether the Pak supported terrorists will go back if this report is accepted. Therefore, the issue of J&K requires a deeper analysis and approach,” he said adding that the issue of AFSPA should be discussed only within the four walls of the Army Command and not outside all. “While the report highlights various aspects of the issue, it fails to outline the solution,” he added.
Dr Jitendra Singh forthrightly questioned the psyche and intentions of the interlocutors. He said: “We don’t look at J&K as a dispute or an issue because our position is that J&K is very much a part of Indian Union like any other states. We also reiterate that those who look at J&K as a dispute or an issue are ones who have a vested interest in keeping the Kashmir pot boiling and projecting J&K as disputed for their personnel interests. There is no dispute over J&K either historically or constitutionally particularly after the 1994 Parliament resolution stating that only un addressed aspect of J&K is how to retrieve the PoK.”
Defending his report, Shri Padgoankar claimed that false allegations were made that the report is partisan. He referred to several pages of report to claim that all the regions have equal mention in the report. The suggestions to review the provisions of post 1953 Indian Constitution was not made with the intension of encouraging separatist sentiment, he added. He said as of today whatever is the locus standi the report has tried to give the best possible suggestions on each aspect. He said certain suggestions have been made about AFSPA but not clearly recommended its revocation. In the question answer session that followed several retired army officers were aggrieved at the manner in which the issue of Army and AFSPA in J&K is being handled.?? Shri Padgaokar failed miserably when he chose to keep mum on a commoner’s question, ‘what recommendations in the report are in the interest of the nation?’ While defending the report, he also claimed that he has not ignored the issue of Kashmiri Pandits or refugees. He accepted Islamic radicalisation of youth in Kashmir is a fact but has not found any place in the report.