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Kashmir issue needs a political solution, say interlocutors

By Mukhtar Ahmad
September 21, 2011 15:10 IST
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The interlocutors appointed by the Centre to look into a resolution of the Kashmir issue on Wednesday said that "prevailing peace in Kashmir is fragile and would continue to be so unless a political solution is arrived at".
 
Ending their 11-month long tenure as central interlocutors on Kashmir, Dileep Padgaonkar, M M Ansari and Professor Radha Kumar held a joint press conference in Srinagar.
 
"In our report that we will submit soon, we will be addressing the political, social and cultural aspirations of the three regions of the state," Padgaonkar said.
 
"We have met 700 delegations, many prominent citizens and more than 5,000 people across the state in the last 11 months. We also held three round table conferences here. We are of the considered opinion that unless a political solution is found, peace will continue to be fragile in the state," he said.
 
He added, "During the last 11 months, the level of violence has decreased and unprecedented number of tourists and pilgrims have visited the valley".
 
Padgaonkar said there was "a general sense of victim hood in various regions of the state".

"The people in Ladakh speak about their victimisation, the people of the Valley talk of their victimisation while those in Jammu also speak of their victimisation," he said.
 
"Our report will address the political, social and cultural aspirations of the three regions without disrupting the integrity of the state," he said.
 
The Centre had appointed the three interlocutors at the peak of the unrest in Kashmir in the summer of last year, when 117 people had been killed during relentless protests.
 
However, Padgaonkar refused to accept that Kashmir was a "disputed" territory.

"Some call Kashmir an issue, some call it a problem and some maintain that it is a dispute. Let us not get into the semantics," he said.

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Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar
 
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