SRINAGAR: An investigation by Jammu and Kashmir police has confirmed that the 27-year-old Farooq Ahmad Dar, who was used as a human shield by Indian Army against stone pelters in central Kashmir’s Budgam district during the bypolls to Srinagar parliamentary seat on April 9 this year, had cast his vote being before tied to the bonnet of the Army jeep and paraded in dozen villages.
“During the investigation, it was found that on April 9 during the bypolls to Srinagar-Budgam parliamentary seat, various stone pelting incidents took place in central Kashmir’s Beerwah area. On the same day, a youth Farooq Ahmad Dar R/o village of Chill Beerwah and accompanied by another youth Hilal Ahmad Magray proceeded to village Gampora to visit a condolence meet. After spending some time there, they both left for their native place,” reveals an inquiry report by police.
It states that after reaching Utligam village in Beerwah, Farooq was lifted by Army during stone pelting and tied to the bonnet of their vehicle as a human shield.
“He was kept under wrongful confinement and paraded around within the area.”
After being paraded in the villages, he was released in the evening.
Farooq, an embroidery artisan, was tied to a bonnet of an army vehicle by Army Major Leetul Gogoi on April 9 and paraded in over a dozen villages to prevent stone pelting.
The army vehicle had also made an announcement that the “stone pelters will meet the same fate”.
“During the investigation, it was established Farooq had cast his vote at a polling booth set up in his native village Chill in Beerwah. After casting the vote, he left for the condolence meeting to village Gampora,” the police report reveals.
After reports from District Election officer Budgam and Company Commander 53 RR Camp Beerwah and analysing of video clips, it has been established that Farooq had cast his vote during the bypolls to Srinagar parliamentary seat, it further reveals.
“The investigation of the case will be concluded on its merits,” added the police report.
After being used as a human shield by Army, Farooq had told media that he had defied the poll boycott call by separatists and militants and voted.
“For casting my vote, they took me as a human shield. I will never vote again,” he had said
The human shield incident had triggered outrage in the Valley while the Army Chief General Rawat, union ministers and BJP leaders backed Major Gogoi for using Farooq as a human shield against stone pelters.
Major Gogoi has been awarded by army chief’s ‘Commendation Card’ for his ‘sustained efforts’ in counter-insurgency operations.
After outrage over tying of Farooq to an army vehicle as the human shield, J&K police had registered an FIR against the Army officer Major Gogoi.
On July 10 this year, Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) directed the PDP-BJP coalition government in the state to pay a compensation of Rs 10 lakhs to Farooq Ahmad Dar for being used as a human shield by the army.