Human shield victim rues lack of justice
Twenty six year old, Farooq Ahmad Dar, who was earlier tied to the bonnet of an army jeep and paraded through many roads on the day elections were held on Srinagar parliamentary seat, Thursday, rued lack of justice in his case.
Talking to Kashmir Vision, Dar said that there was no point carrying out the probe when the Army has already taken a decision in the case. “I had not taken part in any of the incidents of stone pelting. I was tied to the bonnet of Army vehicle and later brutally thrashed and detained by armed forces. But instead of taking action against the concerned personnel involved in the case, the Army has awarded its officer,’’ he said. Describing the court of inquiry into the incident as an “eyewash”, Dar said that the forces were “never serious.’’
Dar said that though a case has been registered but no action has been taken by the police against the concerned armed force personnel. “It has been over a month since then and I am yet to hear from the local police. Even my statement was not recorded,’’ he said, adding that the accused Army Major, Leetul Gogoi, had lied about him being a “ringleader of a stone-pelting gang.”
“The Army major is lying to save himself. I had come from the mourning and even cast the vote,’’ adding that after the incident, he will not vote again. “I won’t vote again after what they did to me. I will boycott voting,” he said.
Earlier Major Leetul Gogoi, who had tied a youth, Farooq Ahmad Dar, to a jeep, when the polling was held on Srinagar parliamentary seat, purportedly as a shield against stone-pelters, was honoured with the Army chief’s ‘Commendation Card’ for his ‘sustained efforts’ in counter-insurgency operations. The award for Major Gogoi was seen as backing of the action of the officer of the 53 Rashtriya Rifles even as the Army earlier ruled out reports that it has given a clean chit to the officer in the court of inquiry (CoI) that was ordered, into the incident, which is “under finalisation”. On Monday Major Gogoi was awarded with the Chief of Army Staff’s commendation card for his sustained efforts in “counter-insurgency operations,” Army spokesperson Col. Aman Anand had said. “All factors including notable performance of Major Gogoi and “overall emerging indicators” of the Court of Inquiry, have been “well-considered” while conferring the award on him,’’ Army officials said, which signaled the clear indication of the Army’s support to his prompt decision to tie the man purportedly to protect soldiers from stone-throwers.
A video, showing the man tied to the Army vehicle during polling in the Srinagar Lok Sabha by-election, had triggered a public outcry, prompting the force to institute a probe even when the CoI into the incident is still under finalisation. The Army chief’s ‘commendation card’ is considered a prestigious award and is given for distinguished services and devotion to duty.
The CoI was tasked with a probe into the circumstances that prompted Major Gogoi to tie the Kashmiri youth to the jeep’s bonnet as a “human shield”. Some of the Indian news channels had come in support of the Army major describing the act of tying a man to the bonnet of a vehicle as “something which saved lives of many others.’’ An Indian national television channel had sought that the Army officer should be awarded. However Untoo said that he has also filed the case against two Indian TV channels for their brazen “support to the Army officer, even when the case was yet to be concluded by the SHRC.