We’ve met almost everyone in valley, say interlocutors


Jammu: Two of the three interlocutors on Kashmir Wednesday evening visited Kot Bhalwal jail on the outskirts of Jammu to meet separatist leaders.

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Journalist Dileep Padgaonkar and academician Radha Kumar drove to Kot Bhalwal jail, where senior separatist leader Shabir Ahmad Shah and Dukhtaran-e-Millat chief Asiya Andrabi are lodged.

Although the interlocuters stayed in the jail premises for about an hour, it is not known whether any of the separatist leaders or militants met them.

Bhartiya Janata Party’s state unit president Shamsher Singh Manhas told reporters that the party after “weighing everything has decided to boycott the interlocutors because they had pleaded for making Pakistan a party to Kashmir issue”.

“As Kashmir is our internal matter, how could Pakistan become a party to the issue? These remarks are unacceptable,” Manhas said.

Against this backdrop and remarks of the interlocutors, Manhas said: “The BJP has decided to boycott the interlocutors.”

Padgaonkar, during his stay in the Kashmir Valley, had said, “Pakistan is a party to Kashmir dispute”.

In Jammu, he decried separatists for not meeting with the team of interlocutors. “We will not ask them to meet us if they are not interested,” he said.

He said the team had met everyone in the valley, except separatists.

Padgaonkar and Kumar arrived here at the conclusion of their four-day visit to the valley. Hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani had called for boycott of the three central government interlocutors, the third being M.M. Ansari.

Padgaonkar said he was aware that “what’s palatable in the valley is not palatable in Jammu”.