Conflict Alerts

Conflict Alerts # 118, 1 July 2020

J&K: Geelani's Exit and Continuing Violence
D Suba Chandran

In the news

Two major developments took place in Kashmir valley during the last week (23-30 June). The first was an announcement by Syed Ali Geelani, of his decision to distance from the Hurriyat. The statement from him read: "I have decided to distance myself from the Hurriyat, given the current situation." 

The second development was another statement, from Director General of Police, J&K. In his statement, released on 30 June, he said: "Out of 128 terrorists killed during this year, 70 belonged to the Hizbul Mujahideen, 20 each were from the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), the rest were from other terrorist outfits."

Besides the above two, there were a series of encounters between the security forces and the militants in Kashmir Valley during the last week in the districts of Baramulla, Anantnag and Pulwama.

Issues at large

The first issue is the fading of Geelani. His announcement is the expression of a reality that the separatist leadership has gone out his hands and even that of the Hurriyat. The Kashmiri narrative today is led by the youths in the Valley, and that talks about protesting against the Indian State and use violence as a means. Neither Geelani's position nor Hurriyat's politics has a meaning to the new actors in the Kashmir valley – the Kashmiri youth.

The second issue is related to the statement by the DG of the J&K Police highlighting the level of increased violence in J&K today. 128 militants killed in six months, out of which 48 in June alone underlines the rise in violence within Kashmir Valley. 

The third issue is related not to the intensity of violence, but its expanse. During the last week, there was violence across three districts in Kashmir Valley.

In perspective

Geelani was a force and the face of separatism in the 1990s. He was one of the founder leaders of the Hurriyat in 1993 but had to leave the group that he had formed to create his own faction, due to differences with the other leaders of his next-generation such as Mirwaiz Farooq. Since 2003, he was leading the Hurriyat (Geelani); during the last decade (the 2010s), he witnessed the return of normalcy during the first part of the decade and the resurgence of violence led by a new generation of his grand-children age. Today he is in the 90s. Perhaps, he understands what is there in store for him and his politics during the 2020s.

The second news  – killing of 48 militants in a single week. This is not good news for the local police, paramilitary and the military that are fighting militancy. This is not good news for New Delhi. And this is not good news for the Kashmiri civil society as well.

D Suba Chandran is the Professor and Dean, School of Conflict and Security Studies, at National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS)

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