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We are ready to talk to anyone: Kashmir interlocutors

October 23, 2010 17:26 IST

The three interlocutors on Jammu and Kashmir, who were appointed by the Centre, on Saturday said they were ready to meet anyone, including separatists, who was willing to talk to them.

The three-member team headed by veteran journalist Dileep Padgaonkar, which arrived in Srinagar on a four-day visit, plans to meet a cross section of people to address the political angle of the Kashmir dispute.

"Our main focus is to address the political angle of the Kashmir dispute. We are here to talk to every shade of opinion and we are here to listen to the people," Padgaonkar told reporters.

He said the team will be in the Valley for the next four days and will meet people from all walks of society and hear their point of view.

"We have already fixed some appointments, some more will be fixed in the course of the visit. We are planning to meet students on Monday," Padgaonkar said.

He said the interlocutors will be visiting the state at least once a month to continue the dialogue with the people of the state and they will submit their recommendations after each visit.

Asked if the team would be meeting the separatist groups in view of the rejection by the hardline faction of the Hurriyat Conference headed by Syed Ali Shah Geelani, the eminent journalist said they were ready to meet anyone.

"I have said it earlier also that if they wish us to call on them, we will do it as well," he said, adding that he has done some work in this regard already.

The other members of the team are educationist Professor Radha Kumar and Information Commissioner M M Ansari.

The Centre named the interlocutors to hold talks with all shades of opinion including the separatists in Jammu and Kashmir as part of its efforts to bring peace in the state.

The decision to appoint a set of interlocutors was taken at the Cabinet Committee on Security meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on September 25.