SRINAGAR: Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and opposition National Conference leader Omar Abdullah Wednesday described as "farce" Army's Court of Inquiry (CoI) against Major Leetul Gogoi for tying a Kashmiri youth to army vehicle as a human shield and reminded India of Geneva conventions while his uncle and firebrand NC leader alleged that army has gone out of control in the State.
"In future, please don't bother with the farce of a military Court of Inquiry. Clearly the only court that matters is the court of public opinion," Omar wrote on Twitter.
Omar also reminded India of Geneva conventions.
“And international conventions like the Geneva and Vienna ones only count when India can accuse others of violations. Do as we say not as we do,” he tweeted.
His statement came two days after Major Gogoi was honoured by Army chief General Bipin Rawat with a 'Commendation Card' for his sustained efforts in counter-insurgency operations.
The awarding of 'Commendation Card' by army chief to Major Gogoi has outraged the Valley.
Hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani had yesterday asked International Court of Justice (ICJ) to take suo-moto action against Major Gogoi saying there were sound grounds and valid proof for human shield incident for ICJ to deliver justice.
A video had gone viral on April 14 showing a Kashmiri man Farooq Ahmad Dar of Chill village of Budgam tied to bonnet of army vehicle as a human shield against the stone pelters in Utligam village of Budgam. He was paraded in at least a dozen villages.
The video had been shot on April 9 during bypolls to Srinagar parliamentary seat.
After the video caused outrage, Army and police ordered separate probes into the human shield incident.
Inspector General of Police Kashmir Munir Khan has said police investigation into human shield incident is going on.
“FIR has been registered by police into the human shield incident and investigation carried on. The FIR has not been quashed,” he has said.
Major Gogoi in a press conference yesterday had defended himself saying about 1200 stone-pelters had surrounded a small group of security personnel at a polling booth and if he had ordered firing, there could have been at least 12 casualties.
Omar’s uncle and firebrand NC leader Sheikh Mustafa Kamaal also hit out at army for honouring the erring Major.
“The human shield incident is total disregard to rules of engagement and operating procedure in peace time and has taken all right thinking people at home and abroad by complete surprise,” he said.
According to Kamal, after watching the human shield video, there is no supporting evidence of a protesting crowd or for that matter Army column. “It was done to humiliate and insult a people of Kashmir”.
Alleging that army is out of control in J&K, he said, “This can be gauged from the fact army flouted Supreme Court direction in Pathribal fake encounter case. Besides, Justice is still awaited in February 23, 1991 mass rape case in Kunan Poshpora village in border district of Kupwara where soldiers had raped over 50 women including elderly women”.
Kamal said there are scores of incidents of human rights violation and crimes against society committed by Army in J&K in last 27 years and most of them still await justice.
“Awarding soldiers for their inhuman acts is the unkindest of all and an insult to injury. Is this reward for demanding our right given to us by Indian constitution,” he said adding the central government has brazenly eroded state’s autonomy since 1953.
The activists of NC’s women’s wing today staged a rally in Srinagar against awarding of Major Gogoi by army chief.
Chanting anti-government slogans, the protesters said, “Honouring Major Gogoi sends a message loud and clear that army and government are establishing a reign of terror here.”