Most people not in favour of UN resolutions: Interlocutors

Most people not in favour of UN resolutions: Interlocutors

"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 M M 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.

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