After Amarinder, Congress supports army chief’s move to honour Major Gogoi | india-news | Hindustan Times
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After Amarinder, Congress supports army chief’s move to honour Major Gogoi

Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh had welcomed the Indian Army chief’s decision to honour a major who was allegedly tied a Kashmiri man to a jeep as a human shield sparking a row.

india Updated: May 23, 2017 17:58 IST
Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala sad Major Gogoi had exemplified a high level of presence of mind and daring, two important attributes of a good army officer.
Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala sad Major Gogoi had exemplified a high level of presence of mind and daring, two important attributes of a good army officer.(Arun Sharma/HT File PHOTO)

The Congress on Tuesday backed the Indian Army chief’s decision to honour a major, who sparked a row after allegedly tying a Kashmiri man to a jeep as a human shield, a day after Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh welcomed the move.

Major Leetul Gogoi was awarded the Chief of Army Staff’s Commendation (COAS) card for “sustained efforts in CI (counter-insurgency) operations” for work done by him over a period of time.

“It is only the army chief’s prerogative to award commendation card to jawans and officers as per the operational requirement. There is absolutely no question of criticising the army chief’s decision,” party’s chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said.

In a statement on Monday, Singh said Major Gogoi had exemplified a high level of presence of mind and daring, two important attributes of a good army officer.

“It is good that the army has stood by the young officer despite criticism in certain quarters of his action. You cannot let the army deal with such stone pelting mobs with one hand tied behind their backs,” the Punjab chief minister, who was the first to demand an award for Major Gogoi, said.

He said it was important to send out a strong signal in support of the major to show that the Indian Army was neither weak nor were its officers underdogs.

Singh also lashed out at those asking for the officer’s court-martial, saying they clearly had no inkling of the way the army works and the traditions which continue to make it a unique institution rooted in a distinctive culture of valour and courage.

The army found itself in the middle of a firestorm after a video clip that purportedly showed a man tied to the fender of a Rakshak jeep and paraded through villages surfaced on social media. A day after on April 14, the army ordered a probe into the incident.

In the video, announcements of people being warned that “this will be the fate of stone-pelters” could be heard in the background. The incident triggered outrage in Kashmir, with separatists saying it was on “expected lines from an oppressor”.

It further damaged the already fraught relationship between the army and civilians and sparked violent protests in the militancy-hit valley.