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What happened to the woman who went with Major Gogoi to a Srinagar hotel

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New Delhi: The Kashmiri woman at the heart of the controversial case involving Major Nitin Leetul Gogoi is now living with “strict” maternal uncles and has not returned home since the incident.

On Monday, Gogoi, the officer who had tied a civilian to a jeep in the ‘human shield’ row, was found guilty of breaking Army rules for going with the woman to a Srinagar hotel on 23 May. He could now face a court martial.

A source close to 20-year-old woman’s family told ThePrint that they also stopped her from reappearing for her Class 10 examinations that she had failed in 2013.

“She has not come home since that day (of the incident). She has almost been isolated and sent away to her maternal uncles. Her family does not want anyone to speak to her. The father, a daily wager, believes his daughter is too young to be married right now,” the source said.

There has been no word on Sameer from the Army.

“The family wants Sameer to be punished. They are blaming him for involving their daughter into this,” the source said.

According to the source, Sameer had brought Gogoi to the woman’s house in Check Kawoosa village, which doesn’t fall under the Major’s area of operation, twice.

“Gogoi asked the family if anyone was troubling them, like a big brother. The mother also recounted that on seeing them at her house in the night, she fainted once,” the source said.

The family of six — the woman, her parents and three brothers — had been living in a tin shanty post the September 2014 Kashmir floods. “They had no finances and even after the compensation was given, they had to sell a piece of land to start work on building a new home,” said the source.

The woman, the source said, also ran a “self-help group” as she is a skilled handicraft artisan. “She would do needlework on crafts. She raised the money and set up the self-help group which employed other girls,” the source said.  It is not known whether anyone was behind the self-help group.

Fracas in a hotel

Major Gogoi of the 53 Rashtriya Rifles (RR) was briefly detained on 23 May after a fracas at the Hotel Grand Mamta in Srinagar. An altercation ensued after staff at the hotel prevented the Major from taking the Kashmiri woman to the room he had booked online.

Gogoi, who was posted at Beerwa in Central Kashmir’s Budgam, was questioned at a police station in Srinagar. The woman later said she had gone with the Army officer on her own. The two had apparently become friends on Facebook.

On Monday, however, a Court of Inquiry (CoI) headed by a brigadier prima facie found Gogoi guilty of “fraternising with a local” and being away from the place of duty while in an operational area.

With Gogoi’s indictment, the bone of contention remains Sameer, who drove Gogoi to the hotel. According to the sources, Sameer was the cause of the altercation. After Gogoi was refused the room by the hotel staff, he reportedly went out to inform Sameer, who then started a confrontation at the reception.

Local human rights activist Mohammad Ahsan Untoo has filed a plea in the matter in the court of the chief judicial magistrate, Srinagar, seeking re-investigation in the case. He says he wants Sameer investigated as he fears more Kashmiri woman may be engaged in such activity.

“We are not satisfied. Our sentiments are hurt. The girl has accepted that she went with him on her own but we are curious to know what happened to the local army man Sameer. I feel the entire issue has been diluted,” Untoo told ThePrint.

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