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Cops confirm Kashmir ‘human shield’ had voted before being tied to army vehicle

Hindustan Times was the first to report that Farooq Ahmad Dar had voted after the video of him being driven around tied to an army vehicle as a deterrent for stone pelters went viral on April 14 .

india Updated: Sep 25, 2017 23:41 IST
Toufiq Rashid
Toufiq Rashid
Hindustan Times, Srinagar
Kashmir,Human shield,Farooq Ahmad Dar
Screengrab of a video showing Farooq Ahmed Dar tied to a jeep as a ‘human shield’ against protesters.The video had triggered outrage in Kashmir.((Twitter/Omar Abdullah))

An interim report of a police probe into the infamous ‘human shield’ episode in Kashmir last April backs the claim of Farooq Ahmad Dar who was tied to an army vehicle and driven around for five hours, that he had gone out to vote that morning.

An Army officer Major Leetul Gogoi who ordered Dar to be tied to a vehicle, had claimed Dar was the ring leader of stone pelters and was leading a mob.

“Police saw voter mark on Dar’s finger the day we went to investigate the case,’’ a senior police official in Budgam who did not want to be identified told HT.

The police report also corroborates the same. “During investigation, it came to light that that the victim Farooq Ahmad Dar had cast his vote at polling booth in his native village, Chill. After casting his vote, he along with Hilal Ahmad Magrey left for Gampora for a condolence meeting,” the report says.

The interim report says “the investigation of the instant case is going on and after obtaining reports from District Election office Budgam/Coy Commander 53 RR Camp Beerwah and analysing of video clips the investigation of the instant case will be concluded on its merits.”

A news story in a local newspaper Greater Kashmir, said report has been submitted to director general of police S P Vaid. However, Vaid refused to comment on the issue.

Read more: HT Special | Facts, allegations: Tracking Major Gogoi’s ‘human shield’ story

Hindustan Times had reported that the 26-year-old had spent his morning queuing up outside a polling booth in Arizal’s Chill Bras area for the Srinagar Lok Sabha bypolls, defying a separatist boycott call that contributed to the lowest turnout in almost three decades.

“Please check my name in the list of voters. If I voted for democracy, why would I stop others from voting and pelt stones?” Dar, a shawl artisan had told HT. He insisted he had showed the indelible ink mark to security personnel.

Chief minister Mehbooba Mufti had asked for a report after the video went viral following a tweet by her predecessor Omar Abdullah who condemned the incident. Army chief General Bipin Rawat had, however, hailed Gogoi’s action and awarded him a commendation card for ‘sustained efforts’ on counter-insurgency operations.

Hindustan Times had about a month later retraced Dar’s journey on the jeep. HT reported how Major Gogoi drove him around five hours across 17 villages over 28 kilometers on April 9.

First Published: Sep 25, 2017 18:53 IST