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Woman cop arrested in Kashmir for blocking anti-rebel ops

Police in Indian-controlled Kashmir said Friday that they arrested one of their own officers and dismissed her for obstructing a counterinsurgency operation in the disputed region.

The woman livestreamed a cordon and search operation by government forces in southern Frisal village on Wednesday “with the intent of disrupting the search operation,” police said in a statement.

It said the officer “resisted the search party,” turned violent and made statements “glorifying violent actions of terrorists.”

FILE - In this Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019 file photo, a Kashmiri policeman guards outside a closed shop in Srinagar, Indian-controlled Kashmir. Police in Indian-controlled Kashmir said Friday, April 16, 2021, that they arrested one of their own officers and dismissed her for obstructing a counterinsurgency operation in the disputed region. Indian law enforcement officers repeatedly have been implicated in helping Kashmiri rebels, who for decades have waged an armed campaign demanding independence for their Himalayan region or a merger with neighboring Pakistan, which administers a part of Kashmir. (AP PhotoMukhtar Khan, File)

The officer was arrested and fired, the statement said.

The dismissed officer was a Special Police Officer. Such officials are lower ranked police recruited mainly for counterinsurgency operations.

Indian law enforcement officers repeatedly have been implicated in helping Kashmiri rebels, who for decades have waged an armed campaign demanding independence for their Himalayan region or a merger with neighboring Pakistan, which administers a part of Kashmir.

India and Pakistan both claim all of the divided, Muslim-majority territory of Kashmir, a conflict that has persisted since the two countries won independence from the British in the late 1940s.

Kashmiri police are caught in the middle, often seen as traitors by their own neighbors and viewed suspiciously by higher Indian officers.

When the latest armed insurgency began in 1989, police initially fought against it. But after the rebels began targeting their families, many abandoned the task, staying at their posts and barracks. Some sympathize with the rebels, who have massive public support and dozens have joined rebel ranks, rising to become militant commanders.

In several cases, the officials were accused of having ties with rebels. In 1992, two policemen and a paramilitary soldier were arrested for allegedly helping rebels bomb Srinagar’s police headquarters in an attack that killed one officer and injured several others.

In response, India set up a police counterinsurgency network that is widely feared and accused by many Kashmiris and human rights groups of abuses such as summary executions, torture, kidnappings and rape. It was those actions the woman officer may have been protesting when she livestreamed the raid on Wednesday.

Police said they are investigating if the woman has links with rebels.