The recommendations of the interlocutors on Jammu and Kashmir will
address the political, social and cultural aspirations of the
people without disrupting the identity of the state, the team's
head Dileep Padgaonkar said Wednesday.
Addressing their last press conference here as central
interlocutors, Padgaonkar, M.M. Ansari and Radha Kumar thanked the
people and the media for the hospitality shown to them during the
11 months they interacted with over 700 delegations, met over
5,000 people, held three roundtable conferences and visited
various parts of the state.
"We have listened to the stories of the sufferings the people went
through and this made us understand the seriousness of the task we
undertook here," Padgaonkar said.
He said during these 11 months, the levels of violence had
declined, and tourists and pilgrims in unprecedented numbers
"But the peace here is fragile and it needs to be consolidated.
People have the right to be empowered to exercise their democratic
rights," he said.
The interlocutors refused to be dragged into the controversy of
accepting that their job had been to address the various contours
of the Kashmir issue.
"We should not be involved in the semantics. Some call it a
dispute, some call it an issue while others maintain Kashmir is a
problem. We will not get entangled in the vocabulary.
"In our opinion we are convinced that permanent peace is only
possible if the political aspirations of the people are
addressed," Padgaonkar said.
He said their emphasis has been on the political solution as
"there is a sense of victimhood in all the three regions of the
About the Kashmiri separatists who had categorically refused to
meet them, Padgaonkar said: "We know their positions on various
issues and we will also speak about those views in our
Padgaonkar asserted that any solution outside the purview of the
Indian constitution was not accepted to the other regions of the
Asked about the quantum of autonomy the interlocutors had in mind
for the state, he said: "The baggage of history is very
contentious. People here need to be empowered to exercise their
The interlocutors said they would not talk about
Pakistan-administered Kashmir as that was not within their
mandate. "We were not mandated to talk about the other Kashmir,"
Asked whether after meeting thousands of Kashmiris the
interlocutors would have a joint view about the Afzal Guru
conviction, Padgaonkar said: "I do not see there will be a
specific reference to the issue in our recommendations, but
individually we hold our opinions on the issue."
The interlocutors will submit their report to the central