Last week, New Delhi appointed three new mediators to find a solution to the decades-old dispute over Kashmir where popular protests against Indian rule have mounted in recent months.
The appointment of the three-member non-political team of interlocutors – journalist Dilip Padgaonkar, academician Radha Kumar and government official M. M. Ansari – is also aimed at defusing simmering anger in the disputed region.
More than 110 people were killed, most of them by police bullets, in months of deadly protests.
But New Delhi’s most important initiative on Kashmir, which India and Pakistan claim in full but rule in parts, has provoked widespread disappointment and dismay.
“…the eight-point plan of action unveiled last month had generated tremendous hope and enthusiasm. And yet the actual announcement of a three-member non-political team has provoked widespread anger and hostility and even invited ridicule,” says Amitabh Mattoo, Professor of International Studies at Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University.