Each separatist leader has to prove his loyalty to their bosses in Pakistan and therefore all try to take the credit. Their supporters also create problems as they raise slogans against other separatist leaders. Under pressure from Pakistan-based terror groups, Geelani buckled and announced protest programmes for weeks and keeps renewing it accordingly.
In fact, during the 65-day turmoil in the Valley, more than half of it was hartals and shutdown called by Geelani while the rest was the curfew and restrictions imposed by the state administration. Though earlier, for example like in the Amarnath land row in 2008, all three separatist leaders — Geelani, Mirwaiz and Yasin Malik — joined hands for protests, Pakistan-based terror groups, particularly Hafiz Saeed, want them to become one and lead the protests in one voice, without any confusion, which they feel will strengthen the struggle for aazadi and will not fall to any pressure tactics from Indian establishment. While Geelani’s strongholds are in areas such as Sopore, Shopian, Tral, the Mirwaiz has a strong following in downtown areas while Malik’s influence is limited to Maisuma. “All three speak in different voices which has not gone down well with the terror masterminds in Pakistan,’’ a source said.
“This pressure has been there from time to time earlier as well. But they have been making fresh attempts since Burhan Wani’s killing and there is enough evidence to that effect,’’ a senior official, who is supervising counter-insurgency operations in the valley, confirmed to New Indian Express. Geelani broke away from the Hurriyat Conference in 2003 citing ideological differences with Mirwaiz. Pakistan engineered the induction of eight separatist groups into the hardline Hurriyat headed by Geelani last year — a clear reflection of Pakistan’s continued support to the 86-year-old hawk. Out of the eight, five defectors were from the moderate faction of the Hurriyat led by the Mirwaiz. This also upset the Mirwaiz faction. On the other hand, another separatist, Shabbir Shah, formed another Hurriyat in 2014.