Any solution to the Kashmir issue must be acceptable to all regions and all sections of people of Jammu and Kashmir, Dileep Padgaonkar, who heads the Centre-appointed panel of interlocutors, said on Thursday after its maiden visit to the State.

“Any kind of solution... must be acceptable to all regions of J&K and to all sections of J&K people and it should have complete endorsement of public opinion as is expressed in Parliament of India and only then can we carry things forward,” he told reporters here before leaving for Delhi along with another interlocutor Radha Kumar.

The interlocutors stressed that they had made a “modest” beginning to a “long and arduous” journey.

“But we are at the beginning of a journey which is going to be long and arduous one and we are prepared for it,” Mr. Padgaonkar said.

In reply to a question on the interlocutors’ proposed meeting with BJP leader L.K. Advani in New Delhi, he said that there were a lot of people whom they could not meet because they were away for elections.

“We will go and brief the government and opposition parties. We are also seeking appointment with the (members of) All Party Delegation to give them impressions about what we heard and what we learned in Srinagar and Jammu,” he said.

The BJP has been critical of Mr. Padgaonkar’s comments that Pakistan has to be involved while finding a permanent solution to the Kashmir issue.

“This is the only first visit to try and learn complexities in J&K situation and we will share our impressions with them,” Mr. Padgaonkar said, adding “we will also seek their insights about how to proceed.

“This not an event but a process and the process is going to take a long time to fructify,” Mr. Padgaonkar said.

On the proposed talks with Mr. Advani, he said that he cannot discuss the details as these are briefings and exchange of ideas.

“Our determination is to go and tell political leaders back in Delhi of what we have gathered,” he said and added “so it is completely premature to formulate opinions as we are in the process of understanding and listening people which is our mandate.”

In response to a query whether they had visited Kot Bhalwal Jail in Jammu to meet separatist leaders Shabir Shah and Abdul Qayoom, Mr. Padgaonkar said “that is not correct but we went to jail to get details of detainee who have been there for militancy related reasons and to find from jail as to where their cases stood.”

He said the Jail Superintendent provided them comprehensive details about these aspects.

Mr. Padgaonkar emphasised that the three-member panel of interlocutors will not meet any one “unless they invite us.

“We have said time and again that anyone who wishes to speak to us, we will be happy to speak them,” he said and added “if they chose not to speak to us, I am sure they have constraints or compulsions”.

BJP activists protest against interlocutors

BJP activists on Thursday protested against the statements made by the interlocutors appointed by the Centre for Jammu and Kashmir, dubbing the remarks as objectionable.

About 150 party activists, including women held protest demonstration at Kachi Chawni Chowk here for about half an hour.

The activists, led by BJP Jammu President Rajesh Gupta, were carrying placards with slogans against the interlocutors.

Addressing party activists, Mr. Gupta said that the interlocutors have been making objectionable statements and not acting as representatives of central government on the task given to them.

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