Srinagar: The separatist campaign in Kashmir, both its political face and the underground militant arm, has fallen into the hands of handlers of militancy across the border, thanks to the local separatist leaders fading into oblivion.
Senior hardline separatist leader, Syed Ali Shah Geelani announced publicly that he was dissociating himself from the separatist political conglomerate, the All Party Hurriyat Conference.
Almost all other prominent separatist politicians have been ‘hibernating’ after August 5, 2019 when article 370 was abrogated and the state bifurcated into two union territories.
All prominent separatist leaders were detained after August 5 last year, but their detention was obviously not the only reason for them to go into hibernation.
Delhi decided to give complete freedom to the security forces to fight militancy after the state was split into two union territories.
Security forces have killed all the prominent militant commanders, both foreigners and locals, since August 5, 2019.
Despite huge successes against the militants, the top brass of the security forces still believe there are over 300 militants active in J&K and an ever larger number of them waiting across the line of control (LoC) to sneak into the union territory.
Displeased with their inability to convert the post August 5, 2019 period into a mass agitation, the masterminds of separatist campaign across the LoC decided to dump the local separatist leaders.
Geelani was the most prominent separatist leader and to sack him was a clear message.
He was also the first whose ouster was managed by using his own cadre.
Geelani made no secret of the fact that his own men had been used to sideline him. He said constituents of the Hurriyat had fallen victim to their personal interests.
Known among the separatist rank and file as the ‘Qaid-e-Karvana’ (Leader of the separatist campaign), Geelani’s ouster was a clear signal that powers across the LoC had decided to take direct control of separatism, both political and armed.
Militant commanders including young local boys who could have joined militancy just before one or two years were made in charge of the gun and its overground political face.
The decision to let the militant commanders handle the separatist political roles had one advantage in the eyes of their handlers.
They were all local faces without any Valley-wide acceptance or influence.
This ensures that none of them could go beyond the brief dictated to them by their masters sitting across.
Confusion among the separatist politicians came handy for the security forces, but in the larger context, the absence of any political control on militancy ruled out the possibility of a future dialogue between Delhi and the militants.
This is seen as an advantage by the handlers of militancy who are sitting across and trying to ensure that peace remains a far cry in Kashmir.
That Kashmiris are stewing in their own soup is no concern of those whose sole objective is to ensure that fear and uncertainty continue to remain central to the destiny of the people here. (IANS)