Police shake-up in Indian Kashmir amid deadly riots

The top policeman in Indian Kashmir has been removed from his post after Singh urged a change in police tactics.


Afp August 27, 2010

The top policeman in Indian Kashmir, where 64 protesters have been killed in the last few months, has been removed from his post after the prime minister urged a change in police tactics, officials said.

Farooq Ahmed, the police chief for Muslim-majority Kashmir valley, has been transferred and replaced by SM Sahai, a senior officer in New Delhi who has previously served in the region.

"In all over a dozen senior police officers have been transferred," said a statement late Thursday announcing the shake-up.

Kuldeep Khoda, the overall head of police in the state, which includes the relatively calm southern Jammu region and violent northern Kashmir, will remain in his post.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh addressed police chiefs from around the country on Thursday and in rare remarks directly questioning tactics urged "non-lethal, yet effective and more focused, measures" to be used in Kashmir.

Also on Thursday, ten policemen and five protesters were wounded in fresh clashes. "Ten policemen were injured when a huge mob pelted stones on a police station in Sopore late Thursday evening," a police statement said, referring to a volatile town about 50 kilometres (31 miles) north of Indian Kashmir summer capital Srinagar.

Three protesters were injured when police fired teargas in retaliation, police said, adding that two more protesters were hurt around same time in clashes with police in Srinagar.

The Muslim-majority scenic Kashmir region has been under rolling curfews to contain deadly protests that began with the killing on June 11 of a teenage student in Srinagar by a police tear-gas shell. Anti-India sentiment runs deep in Kashmir, where separatists have fought a 20-year insurgency in Indian Kashmir against Hindu-majority rule from New Delhi. The mountainous region is held in part by Pakistan and India but claimed in full by both.

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