BJP slams Kashmir interlocutors for Pakistan remark

The party said the PMO should immediately clarify if this was part of the brief given to the interlocutors.

"It seems as if the panel (of three interlocutors) is arguing for the (pro-freedom) Hurriyat angle," BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said in a statement here.

Sitharaman was referring to a statement of Dilip Padgaonkar, one of the three interlocutors, in Srinagar Saturday that Pakistan has to be involved for a permanent solution of the Kashmir issue.

Padgaonkar said: "We are here to look for a permanent solution to the Kashmir issue…but a permanent solution is not possible without the involvement of Pakistan.”
“Any attempt to have a comprehensive solution without Pakistan’s involvement is not possible. Pakistan has to be involved,” he added.

The BJP spokersperson said the party wondered "if this is a part of the brief which has been given to the panel of interlocutors".

The interlocutors were expected to engage with various citizens’ groups to understand the ground realities and to engage with the citizens from various quarters, she pointed out.

"But the comment made, even as they are about to start their assignment, is unnecessarily internationalising the process," she said.

"What is the Pakistan dimension that the interlocutor is referring to?" the BJP leader questioned.

"Is this a part of the brief given or has he stepped beyond their (the panel’s) brief?" Sitharaman asked.

The central government Oct 13 appointed a three-member team of interlocutors - senior journalist Dilip Padgaonkar, academic Radha Kumar and former Central Information Commissioner M.M. Ansari - to interact with political and social groups and individuals and to suggest ways to defuse the crisis in Jammu and Kashmir.

At least 110 civilians, mostly youths and students, have died in Kashmir since June 11 as security forces retaliated to stone-pelting protesters.

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