We know what we are talking about, says Padgaonkar


Srinagar: Dilip Padgaonkar, one of the interlocutors on Jammu and Kashmir, Sunday said that the criticism by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over their (interlocutors’) comments on Pakistan was “unwarranted”.

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“We are responsible people. We know what we are doing. We stand by what we spoke,” Padgaonkar told a TV channel.

Padgaonkar was reacting to the comments by BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman in New Delhi that his comments in Srinagar Saturday were “as if they (interlocutors) were rationalising Pakistan’s stand on its ‘unfinished agenda on Kashmir’ “.

Padgaonkar had said: “We are here to look for a permanent solution to the Kashmir issue …but a permanent solution is not possible without the involvement of Pakistan.”

Alleging that the interlocutors had overstepped their brief, the BJP leader sought a clarification from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on Padgaonkar’s remarks.

On Sunday, Padgaonkar said: “We have been meeting all sections, including militants and youths, here since yesterday. We plan to do the same for a few more days and then move to Jammu to get the Jammu view.”

The central government Oct 13 appointed a three-member team of interlocutors – senior journalist Dilip Padgaonkar, academic Radha Kumar and former Central Information Commissioner M.M. Ansari – to interact with political and social groups and individuals and to suggest ways to defuse the crisis in Jammu and Kashmir.

The team arrived here Saturday on its first visit to Kashmir.

At least 110 civilians, mostly youths and students, have died in Kashmir since June 11 as security forces retaliated to stone-pelting protesters.