A BJP parliamentarian has called for a “nationwide campaign” if any action is taken against major Leetul Gogoi, who is in the eye of a storm for allegedly tying a Kashmiri man to a jeep to use him as a human shield.
“If any kind of action is initiated against brave Maj Gogoi, let’s start a nationwide campaign to support him,” Mysuru-Kodagu MP Pratap Simha tweeted on Tuesday. He also attached a picture of a man tied to the fender of an army jeep.
If any kind of action is initiated against brave Maj. Gogoi, let's start a nationwide campaign to support him. pic.twitter.com/bISd52R1xa— Pratap Simha (@mepratap) April 18, 2017
The Karnataka lawmaker’s message of support came a day after the country’s top law officer, attorney general Mukul Rohatgi, said the officer should be “applauded” and not criticised.
The army is in the middle of a firestorm after a video clip surfaced last week showing a Kashmiri man tied to a jeep. It was purportedly done to deter stone-pelters who had surrounded the vehicles of security forces.
Gogoi ordered the man, said to be a stone thrower, to be tied to the Rakshak vehicle to ensure a safe passage for the convoy he was leading.
The convoy was passing through a neighbourhood in Budgam area, close to the state capital Srinagar, where hundreds of locals gathered to attack the security personnel with stones, according to an army account.
Here's the video as well. A warning can be heard saying stone pelters will meet this fate. This requires an urgent inquiry & follow up NOW!! pic.twitter.com/qj1rnCVazn— Omar Abdullah (@abdullah_omar) April 14, 2017
The army action has left Kashmir seething and divided public opinion. While Left parties have demanded punishment against those responsible for the “outrageous act”, most parties, including the BJP and the Congress, have maintained silence.
“Whatever we say will be twisted to project that the Opposition is speaking against national interest,” argued a Congress source, trying to explain the party’s silence.
Who is Major Gogoi?
Gogoi, 38, hails from rural Assam. His father is a farmer. Army sources said he enlisted in the force at the age of 18 and served as a jawan in the 3rd Battalion of Assam Regiment for nearly nine years before joining the Dehradun-based Army Cadet College (ACC) to become an officer.
Soldiers are groomed to become officers at the ACC for three years before they are packed off for a one-year course to the Indian Military Academy in the hill town. Gogoi was commissioned as a lieutenant in December 2008.
The army service corps (ASC) officer volunteered to serve with the Rashtriya Rifles in Kashmir. The ASC provides logistics support, ranging from supplies to transport, to the army.