Human shield

Filed under: Editorial,Today in News |

Army did not act after the picture of a local tied to the bonnet of a jeep by Major Gogoi, but the army chief was forced to assure action against the same major as he was arrested by police after a complaint lodged by a private hotel that he was trying to enter into the hotel room with the local girl.

He had been backed by the army, even after there was lot of pitch for the action by the political parties and also by the human right bodies.  According to the army, he had tied Farooq Ahmed Dar to his jeep to ensure that crowds do not throw stones at polling staff he was escorting to safety. Army Chief Bipin  Rawat at that point of time had supported the young officer’s action and honoured him with the army chief’s ‘Commendation Card’ for his ‘sustained efforts’ in counter-insurgency operations.

However, the May 23 incident was reversal of his fortunes and he found himself in dock after he was detained by the police along with another Territorial Army personnel, who happens to be a local.

Farooq Ahmad Dar who was used as human shield by the Major Gogoi has told media that justice has been finally done.  However, Court of Inquiry has not been initiated against the major for the Farooq Ahmad Dar case.  The Court of Inquiry indicted Gogoi on two counts — allegedly “fraternising” with a local woman in a Srinagar hotel and being away from his place of duty, and “being away from the place of duty while in operational area”. This paves the way for disciplinary action against Gogoi.

The 28-year-old embroidery artisan, Farooq Dar, who is struggling to pick up the threads of his life after the traumatic incident, said the army should have treated his case also on compassionate grounds and listened to his version of the incident that sparked an outrage. Suffering from depression as he was boycotted by villagers for allegedly being a government agent, Dar recalled his repeated pleas to Gogoi to release him but he refused to pay heed.

On April 9, 2017, a team led by Gogoi tied Dar to the bonnet of an army jeep to escape heavy stone pelting in central Kashmir’s Budgam district, the image going on to make global headlines and putting the civilian-security polarization in the Valley once again in spotlight.  Investigations by central agencies and local police backed Dar’s account of events of the day, raising questions on the army’s claim that he was a stone-pelter.

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