Probe against Army major in human shield case to continue: J-K Police

Major Leetul Gogoi, who had tied a man to his jeep during polling in the Srinagar Lok Sabha by-election on April 9, was honoured yesterday with the Army Chief's Commendation Card.

Published: 23rd May 2017 04:31 PM  |   Last Updated: 23rd May 2017 07:27 PM   |  A+A-

The video, in which a man was seen tied to an army jeep, allegedly as a human shield against stone-pelting, had gone viral on social media. (Screengrab of the video)

Express News Service

SRINAGAR: A day after army announced honouring and awarding of Major Leetul Gogoi, who had tied a man to a jeep in central Kashmir’s Budgam district as a human shield against stone pelters last month, Jammu and Kashmir police Tuesday said it has not quashed FIR into the April 9 incident and investigations will continue.

“FIR has been registered by police into the human shield incident and investigation will be carried on. The FIR has not been quashed,” Inspector General of Police, Kashmir, Munir Khan told reporters in Sopore in North Kashmir.

On April 9 during bypolls to Srinagar parliamentary seat, army officer had tied a Kashmiri man Farooq Ahmad Dar of Chill village of Budgam district on bonnet of the army vehicle as a human shield against stone pelting and paraded him in at least a dozen villages of central Kashmir’s Budgam district.

The video about the incident shot in Beerwah area had gone viral on April 14. In the video, an announcement was being made that the stone pelters will meet the same fate.

Police had registered an FIR against army after outrage over the incident in the Valley.

IGP Kashmir said lodging of FIR means beginning of the investigation.

“Once the FIR is lodged investigation begins. What comes out of the investigation is something different,” he said.

Khan said first investigation will take place, then it would be decided what is wrong and what is good.

“We will share the result of the investigation,” he said.

IGP’s statement assumes significance as it comes a day after army announced that Major Gogoi has been awarded by army chief’s ‘Commendation Card’ for his ‘sustained efforts’ in counter-insurgency operations.

Farooq Ahmad Dar, a shawl weaver who had been taken as a human shield by army major, had told media that he had cast vote and was to visit his sister's house, where a bereavement had taken place, to offer condolences, when he was picked up by men of 53 Rashtria Rifles.

He had said that he was released after being paraded in at least a dozen villages and 28 kilometers.

Reacting to honouring of Major, who used him as a human shield and paraded him villages, Farooq, said, “Justice is murdered and cruelty promoted”.

He said he had defied the poll boycott call and voted. “For casting my vote, they took me as a human shield. I will never vote again.”

Opposition National Conference spokesman said Major Gogoi being honoured is a slap across the face of the mainstream in Kashmir.

“I feel ashamed, disgusted and hopeless. What a travesty,” he said.

Hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani said honouring an army officer, who used a Kashmiri youth as a shield, is extremely distressing and a shameful act.

“Honoring such an officer clearly vindicates our stand that this is state sponsored policy and if not stopped it will prove detrimental for human lives,” he said.

Geelani said the International Court of Justice should take suo-moto action against Major Leetul Gogoi.

He said there are sound ground and valid proof for human shield incident for ICJ to deliver justice.

“The ICJ needs to take cognizance of the incident and without any discrimination deliver justice to uphold the sanctity and dignity of human values,” Geelani said.

He said the human shield incident was an act of “severe crime” against humanity.

Army had last Monday said inquiry into human shield incident is yet to be completed.

 “The Court of Inquiry ordered into the incident wherein a civilian was tied to an Army jeep is still incomplete,” Defence spokesman in Srinagar, Colonel Rajesh Kalia had said.

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