Militants in Jammu and Kashmir have expressed their willingness to present a “peace plan” during their meeting with the group of interlocutors appointed by the Centre, a move seen as “something important” by Dilip Padgaonkar, who led the three-member team.
Giving details about their meetings with those from militant groups, Mr. Padgaonkar said, “The first time we met guys from terrorist organisations. They said would you mind coming again once. We need to talk to you. So we went a second time.”
“And the second time, during an hour and a half, something quite surprising took place which was one of those guys who acted as spokesperson of one of these organisations said to us that they would like to submit to us also a peace plan,” he said in an interview to Karan Thapar on Devil’s Advocate programme on CNN-IBN.
The person asked the group whether they would be prepared to wait for few days because they too wanted their voice to be heard.
“They believed that they have a roadmap etc. So we said we have come to listen to you. We are quite prepared. As and when you prepare your point of view, let us know and we will examine that as well. I see this as something important because this is when the idea came that you need to talk also to our people that were the message given to us,” he said.
Replying to objections raised about the meeting of Radha Kumar, one of the three interlocutors, with people accused of terror, she said, “They do represent, unfortunately, a rather ugly view point in Kashmir but that is important for us to meet them.”
She said the purpose of her visit to prison was to meet young detainees “stonepelters” and political prisoners. It was during one such visit that she met people charged with terror which transpired into an “interesting meeting”, she said.
She said the view of terrorists may be “unpalatable but that we must listen to them.”
Ms. Kumar said, “As far as the dissident groups are concerned especially the Hurriyat groups we do understand their compulsions and we will always be willing to listen to them, their point of view. That is part of our mandate.”
She said it was very rare to meet the Mirwaiz, Geelani or leaders of that opinion on a first visit.
“It (peace process) needs to build up,” she said adding that there was not commitment for such meeting in next visit.
On BJP’s accusation against them of using the language of separatists, Mr. Padgaonkar said if the group was speaking their language, they would not have been boycotted.
When asked about his statement on factoring in of Pakistan, Mr. Padgaonkar said the country has been involved in Jammu and Kashmir since 1947-48 through overt means and covert means of violence and diplomatic discussion.