INDIA - PAKISTAN

Kashmir top cop fired as violent protests continue

Reuters

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. Another 15 people were wounded in clashes on Thursday.

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Farooq Ahmed, the police chief for Muslim-majority Kashmir valley, has been transferred and replaced by S.M. 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.

Singh used the speech to directly question police tactics, and urged that "non-lethal, yet effective and more focused, measures" be used in Kashmir.

Also Thursday, ten policemen and five protesters were wounded in fresh clashes.

Ten policemen were injured when a mob pelted stones on a police station in Sopore late Thursday evening, a police statement said, referring to a volatile town about 50 kilometres 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 Kashmir region has been under rolling curfews to contain deadly protests that began with the killing of a teenage student by a police tear-gas shell on 11 June.

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