Calling for new J&K deal, interlocutors invoke the old
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Seeking a "new compact for Jammu and Kashmir'', the Centre's three interlocutors have drawn a roadmap to resolve the Kashmir dispute without acknowledging that it has been the demand for a solution outside the ambit of the Constitution that has fueled the insurgency since 1990.
And in what is expected to provoke reaction from both mainstream political parties and separatists, the interlocutors, in their 176-page report, have seen the Kashmir problem largely through the prism of Centre-state relations.
Indeed, the interlocutors, Dileep Padgaonkar, Radha Kumar and M M Ansari, have concluded that at the heart of all the "dirges" — they use this term to describe the "demand for Azadi, (demand for) an Islamic State'', "autonomy, self-rule, achievable nationhood and other such alternatives'' — is the "sentiment that the woes of Kashmir are due to the emasculation of the substance of its distinctive status enshrined in Article 370 of the Constitution of India''.
Underlining that the "clock cannot be set back", the interlocutors have upheld Article 370 and recommended the setting up of a Constitutional Committee (CC) to review all Acts and Articles of the Constitution of India extended to J&K after the 1952 Delhi agreement.
Although the interlocutors talk about the growing political, communal and regional wedges across J&K, the report suggests that they found areas of general consensus: on the need for dialogue to settle the issue, J-K as a single entity within the Indian Union, the need to uphold the state's distinctive status guaranteed by Article 370 and addressing the diverse aspirations of the three regions Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh.
The report's recommendations — that fall far short of what has been demanded by the National Conference and the Opposition Peoples Democratic Party — are mainly focused on the well-worn themes of the Centre-State relationship, devolution of powers and governance.
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