Army not giving names of personnel who tied man to jeep as human shield, J-K cops tell HC
The army has not furnished the names of its personnel who tied a Kashmiri weaver to a jeep during by-elections in April, the state has told the Jammu & Kashmir high court, even as the probe into the “human shield” incident continues.
Farooq Dar, a resident of Budgam district, was tied to the front of an army jeep by Major Leetul Gogoi and allegedly driven around for five hours through 17 villages on April 9 — the day parliamentary by-elections in Srinagar constituency saw protests and stone pelting.
The “human shield” incident created a row, with civil society activists alleging gross rights violations by the army and the latter choosing to award Major Gogoi with the Chief of the Army Staff’s commendation card.
In a report submitted to the HC on Thursday, senior additional advocate general Bashir Ahmad Dar said, “Despite chain of communications and subsequent reminders the coy commander of 53-RR camp Beerwah has not provided the nominal roll of the army personnel of the vehicle bound party.” The report also reiterated — as already reported in the media — that Dar had cast his vote on that day at a polling booth in his native village of Chill.
It also said the viral video clip had been submitted to the Central Forensic Science Laboratory in Chandigarh for expert opinion.
HT has a copy of the report that added, “The investigation of the instant case is going on and after obtaining reports from District Election Officer Beerwah, coy commander 53RR camp Beerwah, and expert opinion with regard to video clip related to the victim from CFSL Chandigarh, the investigation of the case will be concluded.”
Checking further documents, HT found that the sub-divisional police office (SDPO) at Magam of Budgam district had sent at least five reminders to the coy commander 53RR camp in Beerwah since April. In another letter dated November 27 to the Commanding Officer of the 53RR camp, the SDPO had asked whether a certain army vehicle bearing number 339Y was allotted to that unit. It continued, “If the said vehicle is allotted to your unit the name of the officer with rank and coy location may kindly be intimated who used the said vehicle for performing of duties on the date of by-poll election i.e 9-4-2017, in Gundipora-Beerwah area.” The SDPO reiterated in his reminders that due to no information from the army officer concerned, “the investigation of instant case is lingering without any progress”.
“For the logical conclusion of the case you are once again requested to provide the nominal roll of vehicle bound party and direct them to appear before the investigating agency (SDPO Magam) forthwith,” said the fifth reminder filed in November.
On Thursday, after hearing the advocate for the petitioner, the court listed the case for the first week of February.
The Jammu and Kashmir government in October rejected the state human rights commission’s (SHRC) recommendation for paying monetary compensation of ₹10 lakh to Dar.