Padgaonkar says will talk to separatists when they are ready

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Jammu, Oct. 28 (ANI): Dileep Padgaonkar, one of the three interlocutors appointed by the Central Government, has said the team will hold talks with the separatists only when they are ready to engage in a dialogue, as talks cannot be enforced.

Addressing a news conference here on Wednesday, Padgaonkar said: "If and when the separatists want to talk to us, we would be ready to talk to them. We can't force people to talk to us because they have their compulsions."

"Where and how they come to a decision to talk or not to talk, I don't know, but should they decide to talk to us then we will be very happy to talk to them. What we will not do is to just land up on their doorstep and hope that talks would happen," Padgaonkar added.

Padgaonkar and academician Radha Kumar reached Jammu after concluding a four-day visit to the Kashmir Valley on Tuesday.

He said people of the valley were yearning for a result-yielding dialogue.

"There is a desire that peace should return through the medium of a dialogue and they want the dialogue to be a frank one, a candid one and a comprehensive one," Padgaonkar said.

"They want a dialogue that will be yielding results because we have gone through the dialogue process several times in the past, and therefore, they very much hope that the present engagement that we have with the people of Jammu and Kashmir will start making some difference on the ground," he added.

The interlocutor noted that each region of the state needs to be dealt with separately, and therefore, a comprehensive proposal cannot be drafted.

"A proposal that sounds very good to you here in Srinagar, may not sound good to people in Jammu or good to people in Leh. So, you got to take everyone along with you and therefore your proposals ought to be something that has a consensus of people in all regions of the state," said Padgaonkar.

Padgaonkar and Kumar also visited the Kot Bhalwal Jail, on the outskirts of Jammu city, to meet imprisoned separatist leader Shabir Ahmad Shah.

The two interlocutors stayed in the prison premises for over an hour.

Central Information Commissioner M M Ansari is the third interlocutor appointed by the federal government to hold the largest possible consultation with all sections of the society with varied opinions about Jammu and Kashmir.

Kashmir has witnessed massive demonstrations against Indian rule in the last three months and at least 100 stone-pelting protestors have been killed in firing by the security forces.

A nearly four month-long spate of strikes and frequent imposition of curfews have kept the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley on the boil, shutting down much of a region, where tens of thousands have been killed, since an insurgency broke out in 1989.

The cycle of violence raised fears that if the government fails to check the simmering row, deaths and rights violations the region could slide into a renewed phase of armed uprising. (ANI)

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