Had Congress implemented our recommendations, 2016 unrest might not have happened: Former interlocutor

Srinagar: A member of the former Jammu and Kashmir Interlocutors Group believes that the 2016 unrest may not have emerged, had the Congress government implemented their recommendations.

Academician Radha Kumar, who was part of J&K Interlocutors Group that submitted a report on the reasons behind that violence and ways to prevent its recurrence, believes that Congress lost an opportunity by ignoring the group’s recommendations when the UPA was in power at the centre.

“The Congress party lost an opportunity by not implementing recommendations of our group. Had the Congress party implemented our recommendations, the situation would have been different today in Kashmir and the 2016 unrest may not have happened,” Radha told KNS.

“Unfortunately our recommendations especially on dialogue and cross LoC trade were not implemented. It should not have happened,” she said.

However, she welcomed the appointment of Dineshwar Sharma, the former IB director, as a special interlocutor to restart the dialogue process for the solution of the Kashmir issue.

“New representative’s appointment was very important. It should have happen very earlier. Still it is good,” she said.

Radha expressed hope that the recommendations of Dineshwar once submitted are to be implemented.

“But unfortunately our political recommendations were not implemented. We have mentioned in our report that encroachments on Article 370 should not have happen over the years,” she said.

The former interlocutor said there was a general feeling in Kashmir that government of India was not concerned about their sufferings.

“There is a need on reform in human rights violations and governance. It is not possible in one go but would take some time.”

She said that the new representative should hold talks with all stakeholders including the Hurriyat.

“I always advocated for talks with Hurriyat. They should come forward for the dialogue. They lost several opportunities in the past by not engaging in talks. If they are the representatives of the alienated they should talk,” she said.

In October 2010, Government of India had appointed a group of three interlocutors including Dr. Dileep Padgaonkar, Prof. M.M. Ansari, Prof. (Mrs) Radha Kumar to hold sustained dialogue with all sections of the people in Jammu and Kashmir.

The group was supposed to prepare a roadmap for settling the Kashmir issue. They had held extensive deliberations with the State government, political parties, civil society, stakeholders at the State and national levels. They submitted their report to the Union Home Ministry.

The group had recommended speedy implementation of the recommendations of the Prime Minister’s working group on CBMs, in particular, making the return of all Kashmiris, mainly Pandits, a part of State policy, facilitating the return of Kashmiris stranded across the LoC, establishing a judicial commission to look into unmarked graves, speeding up human rights and the rule of law reforms.

The group had also favoured creation of three Regional Councils, each for Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh.

The Group had also suggested that there should be no change in Article 356, and if the State government is dismissed, elections should be held within three months.

Their report had made several recommendations to harmonise relations between people on both the sides of Line of Control, including  hassle-free movement of people and goods across the LoC, and a consultative mechanism, where elected representatives from both sides can deliberate on issues of common interests like water, economy, tourism and trade.

(With inputs from KNS)

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