Honey, We shrunk the Separatists Late on Saturday night as Pakistan called off the blighted NSA-level
talks, India had reason to smile to itself. It is quietly achieving an
unexpected success in its tempestuous relationship with its neighbour,
one far more important than getting back an international criminal who
is four months away from his 60th birthday.
India is finally cutting the crowd out of its relationship with Pakistan.
nearly three decades, while calling Kashmir a strictly bilateral issue,
India allowed separatists like SAS Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Yasin
Malik, Shabir Shah and Bilal Lone to be the ever-present third party.
statements like “settlement of Kashmir issue must be in accordance with
the wishes of the Kashmiri people”, it was assumed for decades that the
Hurriyat represented the “wishes of the Kashmiri people”.
does not. Wishes of a region where more than 75 per cent voters turned
out in the bone-chilling December of 2014 are certainly not represented
by separatists, some of them former militants who carry the taint of
murder, intimidation and a clockwork-precise ethnic cleansing of
August 18, 2014, changed all that. India called off
foreign secretary-level talks after the Pakistan high commissioner Abdul
Basit met separatists.
It will probably go down in history as one of the most crucial turning points in India’s diplomacy.
So far, the Modi government has been consistent in that tough and pivotal stance that it took.
leaders who were coming to Delhi to meet Pakistani NSA Sartaj Aziz on
Sunday had been detained on arrival and quietly taken elsewhere.
Shah and Bilal Lone had also been whisked off from the airport. It
helped the Modi government to have a PDP-BJP government in J&K.
played the good cop by allowing the trouble- mongers to travel,
quelling the possibility of local resentment and ensuring that
separatists don’t whip up street anger by playing victim.
detentions in the Capital have been low-key, the blow somewhat blunted
by the 800- odd kilometres between Delhi and Srinagar.
so far been no street protests or violence in Kashmir over India’s
decision not to let the separatists meet the Pakistani NSA. Some
keyboard warriors from the Valley have been dismayed and vocal.
But then, armchair pundits are usually the last to know when their currency has lost its appeal and acceptance on the ground.
remain the poster boys of only this lot and the mainstream Indian
media, which plays on loop for hours images of Pakistani flag being
unfurled by leaders who often can’t even draw a hundred people to their
rallies or protests.
Moreover, a separatist like Bilal Lone, for
instance, is known to avoid arrests and supporters in his base, Kupwara,
are unlikely to cause trouble.
Detention of Geelani or Mirwaiz
may trigger some protests and stone-throwing, but dealing with such
nuisance is a small price to pay for a long battle in which the state
must relentlessly squeeze the space for separatism.
It is wedding
season in Kashmir, and houses of the brides and grooms are being
cleaned before the celebrations in a ritual called livun.
The tradition of getting rid of unwanted elements could well save even one of the most embittered relationships.
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