Growing differences among the three interlocutors on Jammu and Kashmir resurfaced on Wednesday with two of them – chief interlocutor Dileep Padgaonkar and Radha Kumar – meeting Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram. Their colleague in the panel M. M. Ansari was not present at the meeting which lasted for about an hour.

Seeking to downplay the absence of Mr. Ansari during the meeting, Mr. Padgaonkar, an eminent journalist, said there was “some communication gap.” However, Mr. Ansari, a former Information Commissioner, later said that the explanation was not believable. Both Mr. Padgaonkar and Ms. Kumar have faced criticism by Mr. Ansari for participating in Kashmir seminars abroad.

The meeting of Mr. Padgaonkar and Ms. Kumar with the Home Minister comes when the three-member panel is attempting to finalise its report on Jammu and Kashmir. Mr. Padgaonkar said the meeting focussed on the report.

On the absence of Mr. Ansari during the meeting, he said: “There was a communication gap. There is no problem. Whenever we visit Jammu and Kashmir again, all three of us will be going.” However, Mr. Ansari claimed that he had not been invited at all.

Mr. Padgaonkar said the panel would complete its report, undeterred by any criticism or attempts to divert its attention, and submit it to the government by September end.

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