The three-member panel of interlocutors appointed by the Centre on Jammu and Kashmir, on Tuesday visited Shopian town in south Kashmir which had witnessed an agitation over the death of two women in June last year.
The interlocutors, headed by eminent journalist Dileep Padgaonkar met Shakeel Ahmad Ahanger, husband of Nilofar and brother of Aasiya — the two women whose death on May 30 led to widespread protests across the Valley.
“The interlocutors told me that they had been sent by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Home Minister P. Chidambaram and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi to know about the tragedy that befell us last year,” Mr4. Ahanger told PTI after the meeting.
He, however, said that he made it clear to the panel that he did not expect justice from the system.
The death of Nilofar and Aasiya had sparked valley wide protests after allegations of rape and murder of the two women by security forces surfaced in the south Kashmir town.
The State government ordered a CBI probe into the incident and the premier investigating agency in its report concluded that the women had died due to drowning in Ranbiara stream.
Thirteen persons, including six doctors and five lawyers have been chargesheeted by the CBI for allegedly fabricating evidence to implicate the security forces in the death of the two women.
Mr. Padgaonkar said the visit to Shopian was a humanitarian gesture and the interlocutors wanted to hear the side of the bereaved families.
“There was no political dialogue... we only wanted to hear them and it was humanitarian gesture to reach out to the families of the two women,” he told PTI.
Asked about his views on the incident, Mr. Padgaonkar said “it would not be right for me to comment on it. I have heard their side of the story as we always do.”
The head of the panel said several delegations called on them during the day in Srinagar which included “large number of students, teachers and young professionals.”
“We also interacted with a delegation of minorities and Sikhs,” he added.
Meanwhile, one of the interlocutors M.M. Ansari has left for Delhi due to his prior engagements. “He has series of meetings to attend in Delhi,” Mr. Padgaonkar said.
The journalist and educationist Radha Kumar will hold an informal interaction with valley-based journalists in the morning before moving to Jammu in the second leg of their first visit to Jammu and Kashmir.