NEW DELHI: Army veterans today appeared to be divided over a commendation card which was awarded to Major Leetul Gogoi, who had tied a man to a jeep in Kashmir purportedly as a shield against stone pelters.
Lt Gen (retd) H S Panag, former GOC-in-C, Northern Command, criticised the move saying Gogoi's action was unbecoming of the traditions followed by the Indian Army.
"IA (Indian Army) traditions, ethos, rules & regs swept away by the 'mood of the nation'! I stand by my views even if I am the last man standing!" Panag tweeted.
Gogoi was yesterday honoured with army chief's commendation card for his "sustained efforts in counter- insurgency operations". Major Gen (retd) Ramesh Chopra came out in support of Gogoi.
"With his innovative thinking, he saved lives of people and that has to be appreciated. I give him full marks for his presence of mind," Chopra said.
Col Anil Kaul (retd), who served in the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) in Sri Lanka, said Gogoi deserved more than a commendation card because of his "out of the box thinking".
"He saved lives of people without even firing a bullet despite being attacked by stone pelters. His act should be applauded and he should be given a Shaurya Chakra," Kaul said.
Breaking his silence today, Gogoi said about 1200 stone- pelters had surrounded a small group of security personnel at a polling booth in Utligam village of Budgam district on April 9. He claimed that if he had ordered firing, there could have been at least 12 casualties.
The mob, which included women and children, was threatening to set ablaze the polling booth, he claimed.
Amidst the mob, he claimed he saw a man who appeared to be the "ring leader" as he was "instigating" the stone-pelters at Utlgam on the day of bypoll to Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency.