Name a fourth interlocutor, Omar tells Delhi

October 15th, 2010 - 6:38 pm ICT by IANS  

P. Chidambaram Jammu, Oct 15 (IANS) Apparently unhappy over the choice of three interlocutors named by the Indian government to talk to Kashmiris, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah wants a fourth name, preferably one with some political weight.

Informed sources told IANS that the chief minister is keen on an early start of a dialogue between the interlocutors and representatives of the many shades of opinion in the troubled state.

But he wants a fourth person to join the team, one who carries weight politically, to make “a fruitful beginning in the dialogue process” in the present troubled times, the sources said.

Abdullah has apparently conveyed the demand to Home Minister P. Chidambaram.

Chidambaram Wednesday announced three interlocutors: journalist Dilip Padganokar, academic Radha Kumar and economist M.M. Ansari.

The minister had declared that the three were well-known and “credible people” having a political persona.

But the reaction from mainstream and separatist groups in Jammu and Kashmir has been one of dismay.

There was a muted response to the names from the ruling National Conference while the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party described it as a “dampener of hope”.

The separatists called Chidambaram’s announcement an “exercise in futility”. Peoples Conference chief Sajjad Gani Lone said the appointment of the three people was “insulting” to the people of Kashmir.

According to the sources, the chief minister has studied all the reactions and asked the central government to include someone whose appeal would stretch to the alienated sections.

Chidambaram’s announcement followed weeks of unrest and street protests in the Kashmir Valley in which more than 100 civilians were killed, mostly in firing by security forces.

Faced with frequent paralyzing shutdowns in the Kashmir Valley, the central government said it was ready to talk to everyone in the state in a bid to restore normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir.

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