Thursday, April 12, 2012

Kashmir: Estranged by their khakis

What is it like to be a policeman in Kashmir today?

Wasim Khalid Srinagar, HARDNEWS, April 2012

He is at the forefront of confrontations in the volatile state of Kashmir. Be it a public protest demanding civic amenities, stone-hurling youth raising their voice for ‘freedom’, or militants engaging them in a gunfight, the policeman has to bear the brunt of it all. Dressed in khaki, automatic rifle slung from his shoulder, today the cop can also be seen carrying a cane and a shield, more often than earlier – thanks to a surge in unarmed mass protests.

Even as images of Jammu and Kashmir Police personnel beating people, chasing protestors or firing tear gas canisters abound in the media and the public psyche, what the conflict has done to the everyday lives of Kashmiri policemen remains the least-talked-about aspect of the Kashmir tangle.

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