Jethmalani supports Kashmir interlocutors, embarrasses BJP

New Delhi/Shopian, Oct 26 (ANI): Noted criminal lawyer and senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Rajya Sabha member Ram Jethmalani on Tuesday opposed the party line by coming out in support of the Kashmir interlocutors, saying it is childish and churlish to accuse them of internationalising the issue.

Despite the BJP'S strong criticism of panel member Dileep Padgaonkar's remarks on Pakistan being key to a permanent Kashmir solution, Jethmalani stated that interlocutor Dileep Padgaonkar and his team's task of finding a peaceful and lasting solution to the Kashmir problem is almost superhuman.

"Neither by acts nor by words we should add to their difficulties. It is childish and churlish to attack them as internalizing the issue. Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee by his confabulations with Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf and recently Foreign Minister SM Krishna confabulating with his counterpart Qureshi were exactly doing that," said Jethmalani.

"The dialogue with Pakistan is a compulsory legacy of the Shimla Agreement of 1972. We cannot wish it out of existence," he added.

Jethmalani further said he fervently prayed for their success, despite having serious misgivings, asserting that even if they achieve partial result the nation would owe them a debt of gratitude.

The BJP had earlier accused Padgaonkar of internationalising the Kashmir problem after he said a solution to the issue was not possible without involving Pakistan.

The party had also questioned whether he was given the brief to make such statements by the Centre and sought a clarification from the Prime Minister's Office on the matter.

The three-member panel of interlocutors appointed by the Central Government visited Jammu and Kashmir's Shopian town today, which had witnessed an agitation over the death of two women in June last year.

The interlocutors, headed by eminent journalist Dileep Padgaonkar met Shakeel Ahmad Ahanger, husband of Nilofar and brother of Aasiya-the two women whose death on May 30 led to widespread protests across the valley.

The death of Nilofar and Aasiya had sparked valley wide protests after allegations of rape and murder of the two women by security forces surfaced in the south Kashmir town.

The Jammu and Kashmir Government had ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the incident and the premier investigating agency in its report concluded that the women had died due to drowning in Ranbiara stream.

The CBI has chargesheeted thirteen persons, including six doctors and five lawyers, for allegedly fabricating evidence to implicate the security forces in the death of the two women. (ANI)

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