The Union government's interlocutors on Jammu and Kashmir on Monday began their monthly visit to the State and met leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the National Panthers Party (NPP) and some social activists.
The team, comprising Dileep Padgaonkar, Radha Kumar and M.M. Ansari, arrived on a six-day visit. The BJP side was led by its State president Shamsher Singh Manhas; the other leaders included Ashok Khajuria, Nirmal Singh and spokesperson Jitendar Singh.
For the first time, the interlocutors refused to speak to the media, saying they would brief them on the conclusion of their visit.
Speaking to The Hindu, Dr. Jitendar Singh said they handed over the resolution passed by the national office-bearers of the BJP in Jammu on December 22 chalking out its agenda vis-à-vis Jammu and Kashmir.
“The resolution was later ratified at the Guwahati meet,” he said, adding that besides other issues the party reiterated its stand of abrogation of Article 370 and its opposition to any solution such as restoration of the pre-1953 position, autonomy or self-rule.
“The interlocutors told us that there are no redlines. So we told them that the issues mentioned in the resolution should also be discussed,” Dr. Singh said. The party stressed delimitation in the State and the need to address the issue of regional discrimination.
Various other issues were also discussed, he said.
On the BJP's proposed plan to hoist the Tricolour at Lal Chowk in Srinagar on January 26, he said: “This issue pertains to the central leadership.”
“But when some reporter asked whether [Chief Minister] Omar Abdullah should hoist the flag at Lal Chowk, we simply said that everybody was welcome,” Dr. Singh said. Later at a meeting with the NPP, the interlocutors discussed the political situation and sought its suggestion for reaching a consensus. NPP leader Harshdev Singh said they believed that good governance was important to restore normality. Flagging it as the solution to all problems, he said: “They [Centre] have themselves accepted that there was deficit in governance.”
“So steps need to be taken to improve that and solve the day-to-day problems of the people.”
Mr. Singh said reorganisation of the State topped their agenda, besides “equitable development [in every respect] of all the three regions.”
“Delimitation of Assembly constituencies, issue of refugees from Pakistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and justice to migrants were other issues we discussed with them,” he told The Hindu.
The interlocutors are scheduled to visit Kashmir on January 20 to reach out to people in the central district of Budgam.
Keywords: Jammu & Kashmir issue