‘Human Shield’ Moves SHRC

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Srinagar: Shawl weaver, Farooq Ahmad Dar, who was used by army as human shield on election day last month has filed a complaint in State Human Rights Commission here against the officer responsible for tying him to bonnet of a jeep with ropes and parading him through villages. 

An official of SHRC confirmed that Farooq Ahmed Dar, the resident of Chill village in Budgam has filed the complaint against the army Major who was commended with a certificate by army chief.

Major Leetul Gogoi, who had strapped Farooq to a jeep, was feted with the COAS ‘commendation card’ for his sustained efforts in counter-insurgency operations on Monday.

The major paraded 26-year-old for five hours through 17 villages during the violence-marred bypoll to the Srinagar parliamentary constituency on April 9.

A human rights campaigner Ahsan Untoo on behalf of Farooq challenged the army’s award to Gogoi, who is still under investigation, seeking to know why the army major who got civilian tied, has been awarded when an inquiry is on into the incident, and has described the award as illegal.

The army officer was praised and pilloried in equal parts for his action, which he defended on Monday as an act that “saved lives”. Farooq countered that the major was “lying to save himself”.

Untoo said that the he has also filed a petition against three TV News channels for terming Farooq Dar a stone pelter.

“The new channels have defamed Dar by calling him a stone pelter. How can they call anyone stone pelter without evidence,” he said.

Farooq had said that he was not part of any stone-pelting mob and that he had casted his vote and was on his way to meet a relative in the area. “It is grossly inhumane… to turn me into a stone-pelter. I am still under trauma and now the entire case is being turned against me, while I am the victim,” he said.

Pak condemns award to Major

Pakistan on Thursday condemned the Indian Army chief’s Commendation Card to an officer involved in tying up a Kashmiri man to a jeep as a human shield.

“Awarding Major Leetul Gogoi, who brazenly used a Kashmiri youth as a human shield, is condemnable. It is a crime and an insult to humanity,” Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria told media during the weekly briefing.

The Commendation Card for Major Gogoi of 53 Rashtriya Rifles was given for his “sustained efforts” in counter-insurgency operations, the Indian Army had said.

Zakaria said that it was not the first time that the Indian forces have displayed such “cowardice and inhumanity”.

Accusing the Indian forces of being involved in acts of “grave violence against civilians”, Zakaria also urged the international community, particularly the UN, to take cognizance of the act.

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