The three-member team of interlocutors on Jammu and Kashmir led by journalist Dileep Padgaonkar on Sunday met a group of militants at the Central Jail here. It also met some youths who had taken part in the stone-throwing agitation during the past four months.

Accompanied by other team members Radha Kumar and M.M. Ansari, Mr. Padgaonkar met at least five militants from the Al-Badr, the Hizbul Mujahideen, the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammad in the jail. Sources told The Hindu that among those whom the interlocutors met were top-ranking commanders of these organisations.

The militants, the sources said, asked the interlocutors to prove their sincerity by creating a conducive atmosphere for talks. They cited the crackdown on youth who were “agitating for a right and just cause,” the sources said.

The militants also stressed on the involvement of Pakistan in any dialogue process to find an “amicable” solution to the Kashmir problem.

Patient hearing

The team also had an hour-long interaction with some youths who had been “actively engaged” in stone-pelting. The meeting took place at an undisclosed location and the youths clearly articulated the view that “people of Kashmir want Azadi.” They reminded the team of the promises made by the Centre from time to time and said “democracy was being choked in Kashmir.”

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