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Major Gogoi faces court of inquiry, Army chief vows ‘exemplary’ action if he’s guilty

This inquiry comes after the army chief General Bipin Rawat said Major Gogoi will be given “exemplary punishment” if he is found guilty of violating rules.

india Updated: May 25, 2018 23:21 IST
Mir Ehsan
Mir Ehsan
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Major Leetul Gogoi,Major Gogoi,Army inquiry
Major Leetul Gogoi had tied a local resident to the bonnet of his jeep as a human shield in Badgam district during a stone pelting incident in 2017.(Screengrab)

Army chief General Bipin Rawat on Friday promised “exemplary punishment” for Major Leetul Gogoi if he was found guilty of violating rules as the force ordered a court of inquiry against the officer, who was detained along with a woman and a local man on Wednesday in Jammu and Kashmir’s Srinagar.

General Rawat said if anybody is found to have done any wrong, strict action will be taken against him, regardless of who he is or what rank he holds. “If Major Gogoi has done anything wrong, I assure you that soon he will be punished and I will give such punishment that it will set an example,’’ he told reporters in south Kashmir.

In a statement issued in Delhi, the army said it had ordered a court of inquiry (CoI) and “appropriate action” would be taken after the inquiry. Army officers familiar with the matter said the CoI will find out whether Major Gogoi had violated rules and the standard operating procedure mandatory for army officials in conflict zones, especially in Kashmir, which required him to inform superior officers before booking a hotel room.

Last April, during by-elections for the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat, Major Gogoi had tied a civilian, Farooq Ahmad Dar, to the bonnet of his jeep as a human shield to deter stone-pelters from targeting his troops. The incident led to a human rights controversy. General Rawat awarded Gogoi a commendation card for his “sustained efforts” on counter-insurgency operations.

Gogoi was detained by the police on Wednesday along with a woman and another army man from a city hotel after they had an altercation with the hotel staff. Gogoi was later handed over to his unit in Budgam.

The woman was handed over to her parents after her statement was recorded in front of a Magistrate. In her statement, the woman reportedly told the police that she had gone with the officer of her own volition. On Friday, the woman’s family refused to comment on the incident and said she had been sent to her maternal uncle’s home.

The Army chief, on a two-day Kashmir visit, on Friday visited South Kashmir to review the situation with formation commanders, especially after a unilateral ceasefire was announced in the Valley. South Kashmir is currently considered militancy hotbed with many local and foreign militants active in the districts of Kulgam, Pulwama, Shopian and Anantnag.

First Published: May 25, 2018 16:48 IST