The Bharatiya Janata Party has taken exception to the remarks of one of the three interlocutors for Jammu and Kashmir favouring Pakistan's involvement in finding a solution to the crisis. It has demanded that the Prime Minister's Office clarify whether the team's brief includes internationalising the peace process.
Talking to journalists here on Sunday, party spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman expressed surprise at the statement of Dilip Padgaonkar soon after the interlocutors arrived in Srinagar and wondered whether it was part of the terms of reference of the panel.
Ms. Sitaraman wanted an immediate clarification from the PMO whether Mr. Padgaonkar had overstepped his brief, for his statement amounted to somewhat internationalising the entire process. It sought to legitimise Pakistan's unfinished agenda in Kashmir, and the panel already appeared taking the Hurriyat angle.
She said the BJP was worried at the pattern that was emerging; first from Chief Minister Omar Abdullah's speech in the Assembly which, she said, seemed to have been scripted by separatists — and then the statement of All-Party Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani in Delhi.
Ms. Sitaraman evaded a question whether Mr. Padgaonkar should be recalled. First, she said, the party would like to have a clarification from the PMO on the assignment of the panel.
She said the Congress' role was dubious: it wanted more time given to Mr. Abdullah to normalise the situation, but his statement in the Assembly did not appear to be one issued by a person elected under the Constitution.