Separatist leaders in Kashmir have said that the appointment of interlocutors will not help in moving forward on the resolution of Kashmir issue. Without doubting the credibility of the appointees, the leaders said, the step was “half-hearted.”
Responding to the appointment of journalist Dilip Padgaonkar, bureaucrat M.M. Ansari and academician Radha Kumar as interlocutors to hold talks with all shades of opinion in Jammu and Kashmir, hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani said: “It shows that India is not serious about resolving the Kashmir issue. The appointment of interlocutors or the announcement of a dialogue process is futile until the government accepts the five-point formula put forth by our party for making [the] situation conducive.”
“These are nothing but delaying tactics that the government has been indulging in since 1952, wherein 152 unsuccessful talks were held,” he said. However, Mr. Geelani clarified that he had nothing personal against the appointed interlocutors.
Moderate Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq termed the appointment as yet another non-serious initiative. “The government should first identify the reason to appoint the interlocutors. The dialogue process is step two. Step one is that the ground realities should change first. Dialogue and oppression cannot go together.”
The Mirwaiz said that until the government acted upon his party's four-point programme, the moderate Hurriyat will not enter into any dialogue.
Though the credibility of the interlocutors could not be questioned, “it seems that it is a group sent on a fact-finding mission.”
Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chief Mohammad Yasin Malik said: “I don't doubt the credentials of these interlocutors, but their appointment seems to be a joke with the Kashmiri people given that a high-power all-party Parliamentary delegation failed to deliver on the same issue.”
Mr. Malik reiterated his stand on the appointment of parliamentary committees in both India and Pakistan over Kashmir.