Dileep Padgaonkar, head of the newly-appointed group of interlocutors on Jammu and Kashmir, on Wednesday said they do not have any quick-fix solutions and will try to cover the whole ambit of political opinion to recommend steps aimed at bringing peace in the Valley.
“It is a huge responsibility, we don’t have a quick-fix solution. One of our members is abroad, once she returns we will draw the plan and be in the state at the earliest. We will try to cover the whole ambit of political opinion and grasp aspirations of the people of each region of Jammu and Kashmir,” Padgaonkar said.
The eminent journalist with vast experience on national and international affairs has been given the responsibility to chair the group nominated today by the Home Ministry which also includes Central Information Commissioner M M Ansari and academician Radha Kumar. The decision to appoint a set of interlocutors was taken at the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security, chaired by Prime Mamohan Singh, on September 25.
“Our endeavour is to make recommendations which should bring peace and solve the Kashmir issue,” Padgaonkar, who is the consulting editor to ‘The Times of India’, said.
On hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s statement that the effort was a “futile exercise”, Padgaonkar said “India is a vast country. He is only exercising his right to freedom of expression.”
“I have met Geelani in the past and this group will also be reaching out to him and listen to what these people (separatists) have to say,” he said. The terms and references of the group will be to hold talks with all shades of opinion including mainstream political parties and separatists.
The panel will cover views of all the three regions –Jammu, Ladakh and Kashmir.