Nation Current Affairs 25 Sep 2017 Kashmiri shawl-weave ...

Kashmiri shawl-weaver was innocent; wrong by Army: J&K police

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | YUSUF JAMEEL
Published Sep 25, 2017, 10:52 pm IST
Updated Sep 25, 2017, 10:52 pm IST
The report terms the action ordered by Major Gogoi as ‘wrongful confinement’ of an innocent civilian.
File photo of Farooq Ahmed Dar, the Kashmiri shawl weaver tied to the armed forces jeep. (Photo: File)
 File photo of Farooq Ahmed Dar, the Kashmiri shawl weaver tied to the armed forces jeep. (Photo: File)

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir police has in its probe into the April 9 incident of using a Kashmiri shawl-weaver as a ‘human shield’ by the Army said that he was not a stone-pelter and had, in fact, voted in an election before being wronged.

Farooq Ahmed Dar, a resident of Chhil Brass village of central Budgam district, was tied to the bonnet of an Army jeep during the April 9 by-poll in Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency, evoking rage within the State and beyond with human rights groups including Amnesty International demanding action against those responsible.  The Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission (J&KSHRC) had in July directed the State government to pay a compensation of Rs 1 million to him.

 

But Major Leetul Gogoi of the Army’s 53 Rashtriya Rifles who  ordered the action  had defended it saying  that if he had not done what he did that day “at least 12 or more lives” would have been lost, and that “had I fired there would have been many casualties.” He had also claimed that Dar was a stone-pelter and questioned his claim that he was used as ‘human shield’ even after he had voted in the by-election in defiance of the boycott diktat issued by the separatists.

The incident snowballed into a major controversy after Major Gogoi was awarded ‘Commendation Card’ for his “sustained distinguished service” in counterinsurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir by Army Chief General Bipin Rawat even when the Army had yet to complete the inquiry into the incident and the police had said that the case registered against the officer in the local police station has not been quashed either.

 

Now the J&K police has in its report submitted to the government contradicted Major Goloi’s claims and said that Dar had cast his vote before heading to a neighbouring village to attend a condolence meet in a relative’s house and that he was not a stone-pelter.  The 2-page report says that during investigation it came to surface that on April 9,  2017 during by-poll stone-pelting incidents took place in the jurisdiction of police station Beerwah and, on the same day, Dar (witness number 1) proceeded to village Gampora for condolence and after spending some time left from village Gampora and reached Utligam crossing “where from he was lifted by Army during stone pelting and was tied to bonnet of the Army vehicle as human shield under threat.”

 

The report terms the action ordered by Major Gogoi as ‘wrongful confinement’ of an innocent civilian. A video which went viral soon after the incident showed Dar tied to the bonnet of an Army jeep with a placard and, in the background, a warning “Those who throw stones will meet the same fate” could be heard. Dar had later said that he was caught by the troops in Gundipora village of the district, who tied him to the front of their jeep before proceeding towards Beerwah town. An FIR was registered by the Jammu and Kashmir police against the Army. On 15 April, the Army constituted a court of inquiry in the incident which is reported to have exonerated the officer.

 

Dar had also filed a formal complaint against Major Gogoi in the J&KSHRC in May through a local human rights activist Ahsun Antoo, chairman, International Forum for Justice and Protection of Human Rights.

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