DM Defends Army On ‘Human Shield’

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Srinagar: Defence Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday backed an army officer who tied a Kashmiri man to a jeep bonnet as a defence against stone-pelting mobs, saying he had the responsibility to save the lives of those involved in the by-election that day as well as the crowd that had gathered.

Asked about the incident, which is being probed by a Court of Inquiry set up by the Army, Jaitley said investigation is on.

“Let us not forget the Army is a responsible institution and the Army was also interested in saving lives of various people who were involved in the election process and also the large crowd of people gathered there to protest,” Jaitley said.

A video, shot during the April 9 Srinagar Lok Sabha by-poll and posted on social media showed a man, later identified as Farooq Ahmad Dar, tied on the bonnet of an army jeep in Budgam. The video went viral and the incident was roundly condemned.

An FIR was registered by the Jammu and Kashmir police against the security forces. The officer who tied the local was Major Leetul Gogoi of 53 Rashtriya Rifles.

On April 15, the Army constituted a court of inquiry in the incident, and a report is pending.

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