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Meet Kashmir's all-new peacemakers

October 13, 2010 17:09 IST
The Jammu and Kashmir government has finalised three interlocutors to initiate peace talks in the Valley and its choice of those zeroed in for the task -- noted academician Radha Kumar, Information Commissioner M M Ansari and eminent journalist Dileep Padgaonkar -- clearly reflects on its intentions for the road ahead in the state. The credentials of the three range from specialising in conflict resolution, ensuring the citizens' Right to Information and reporting major events in India and abroad.

The first of the three-member panel, which will hold talks with all shades of opinion including the separatists in J&K as part of their efforts to bring peace in the state, is Professor Radha Kumar. A director at Jamia Milia Islamia's Nelson Mandela Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution in Delhi, she is a specialist on ethnic conflicts and peace processes.

Prof Kumar holds a PhD from the Jawaharlal Nehru University and graduate as well as postgraduate degrees from Britain's Cambridge University. She has also edited and authored various insightful reports, which include 'Frameworks for a Kashmir settlement' in 2006 and 2007, 'Peace building: European and Indian views' in 2007, and 'What makes a peace process irreversible' in 2005. Some of the books authored by Kumar, currently the director of Delhi Policy Group, include Making Peace with Partition published in 2005 and Divide and fall? Bosnia in the annals of partition published in 1997.

The second mediator, Professor M M Ansari, is the Information Commissioner at the Central Information Commission since 2005. The 58-year-old has written over 10,000 decisions under the RTI Act during his tenure at the transparency watchdog, which will end later this month.

Ansari holds a masters in arts from Britain's University of Buckingham and also has a PhD in economics. He has written several research and policy-oriented studies on planning and implementation of welfare schemes and has also served in several institutions providing research and consultancy services.

The third member in the panel is veteran journalist Dileep Padgaonkar who started his career at the age of 18 in Pune. Working with the Times of India at various positions, including as its Paris correspondent. He also was the group's editor-in-chief. After a hiatusĀ from 1994, when he started his own media company, he returned to the newspaper as consulting editor and served till 2009.
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