Make public file on selection of JK interlocutors

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New Delhi: The Central Information Commission has directed the Centre to make public the file related to selection of three interlocutors for Kashmir by the Home Ministry.

The decision to appoint a set of interlocutors was taken at the Cabinet Committee on Security meeting chaired by Prime Mamohan Singh on September 25, 2010.

Following the decision, the Home Ministry on October 13, 2010 appointed eminent journalist Dilip Padgaonkar, former Information Commissioner M M Ansari and noted academician Radha Kumar as interlocutors to talk with the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

The terms and references of the panel was to hold talks with all shades of opinion including mainstream political parties and separatists. The panel was tasked to cover views of all the three regions–Jammu, Ladakh and Kashmir.

Activist S C Agrawal had sought to know from the Home Ministry, among other details, the file notings related to selection of the three interlocutors on Kashmir to which the Ministry had said there was no such file with the concerned division.

Later the appellate authority at the Ministry said disclosure of file would harm strategic interests of the country and was exempted under the RTI Act.

Rejecting the arguments, Information Commissioner Sushma Singh held that disclosure of file notes on the selection of three interlocutors "does not harm the strategic interests of the State" as information is "only" about the selection of three interlocutors.

She directed the Home Ministry to disclose file notes made on the selection of the interlocutors.

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