3 fights erupted between IOK police, Indian soldiers since Aug 5 » Kashmir Media Service

Srinagar August 27 (KMS): The US-based news agency, the Associated Press, citing officers of Kashmir police has said that at least three incidents of fights between personnel of Kashmir police and Indian soldiers have taken place since India revoked Kashmir’s special status, leading to injuries on both sides.

Thirty Kashmiri police officers who spoke on the condition of anonymity fearing retribution from their superiors told the news agency that they have been sidelined and in some cases disarmed by New Delhi-based authorities. The Kashmir police force was shocked by the sudden presidential order earlier this month that stripped Kashmir’s special status, leading officers to feel spiritless, caught between the Indian security forces and the friends and neighbors who question their loyalties like never before.

“At the end of the day, we neither belong to our own nor are we trusted by higher authorities,” said one officer.

For years, Kashmiri police have been on the forefront of intelligence-gathering and profiling of activists and mujahideen fighting Indian rule. “Days before Kashmir’s special status was revoked, tens of thousands of troops were deployed to the region. Authorities cut internet, cell coverage and even landline telephone service, leaving Jammu and Kashmir’s 12.5 million people unable to contact each other or friends and relatives outside the state.”

Officers described Kashmir’s sudden re-organization as a betrayal by the Indian authorities they had been serving at the risk of social alienation in their communities. Many of the policemen said their department-issued firearms were taken away from them days before Modi government’s order was presented in Parliament because authorities feared they could rebel.

At least three fights have broken out between Kashmir police and Indian soldiers since Kashmir’s status was revoked, leading to injuries on both sides, two police officers said. Some officers said they were unclear about their role as the region transitions from a semi-autonomous state to a federally administered territory.

In contrast to the Indian paramilitary soldiers manning a maze of checkpoints armed with assault rifles, shotguns, tear gas canisters and two-way radios, Kashmir police are only carrying batons.“It has been a leisurely job these days,” said one officer perusing a newspaper at a checkpoint. “We’ve become like clerks and helpers in the field for soldiers. Why should we carry weapons? After all, we too are part of this besieged society,” he said.

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