BJP should reconsider flag hoisting plan: J&K Interlocutors

Jammu, Jan 19 (PTI) The Kashmir interlocutors today askedBJP to reconsider its plan to hoist the national flag at LalChowk in Srinagar on Republic Day, fearing it could lead tolaw and order problems in the Valley.

"If the exercise of the right (to hoist the flag) leadsto aggravating tension or to thwarting the dialogue processnow underway, it should be seriously reconsidered. This iswhat we have conveyed to the BJP," veteran journalist DileepPadgaonkar, who heads the team of three interlocutors, told apress conference here.

He was replying to a volley of questions on the BJP''splan and separatist leader and JKLF chief Yasin Malik''s callto the people to assemble at Lal Chowk that day and restrictBJP''s "negative politics".

"Every citizen has the right to hoist the national flaganywhere in the country. We do not dispute anybody''s right.

But we only hope that BJP functions in a way that facilitatesreturn to normalcy (in Kashmir)," he said.

The plan of the BJP''s youth wing to hoist the nationaltricolour at Lal Chowk has drawn flak from opposition partiesand even its NDA ally JD(U) has appealed to it to postpone theprogramme so that peace is not "hampered".

The state government has urged the main opposition partytwice to drop the plan.

To a question, Padgoankar said, "We truly and genuinelyhope that no one does any thing in order to disturb peace andthwart the dialogue process, which is now underway.

"The important thing is to facilitate dialogue, bringnormalcy and facilitate certain measures that are being takenon the ground in Kashmir to try and create an atmosphereconducive to make progress on the dialogue front," he said.

Padgaonkar said that during the meeting the interlocutorshad with BJP leaders on January 17, the party stuck to itsdecision.

"We heard their point of view and asked them toreconsider the decisions," he said.

Noting that the people of the state were politicallymature to know exactly who is doing what, he said they wereyearning for return of normalcy and were keen for a permanentpolitical resolution in Jammu and Kashmir.

"They know whether a political group facilitates adialogue process or not," he said.

Referring to the recommendations made by the group, hesaid, "After every visit we make recommendations to theCentral government. The Government has so far accepted all therecommendations we made after our three visits."

Some of the suggestions have to be implemented by theCentre and some by the state government. "We have every reasonto believe that the chief minister is keen on doing so at theearliest," Padgaonkar said.

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