Kashmir human rights activist challenges award to Major Gogoi
The army major paraded 26-year-old Farooq Ahmad Dar for five hours through 17 villages during the violence-marred bypoll to the Srinagar parliamentary constituency on April 9india Updated: May 27, 2017 07:25 IST
A human rights campaigner challenged on Wednesday the army’s award to Major Nitin Leetul Gogoi, who is under investigation for tying a Kashmiri weaver to a military jeep’s bonnet and using him as a “human shield” against stone-throwing poll protesters.
Muhammad Ahsan Untoo, chairman of the International Forum for Justice, filed a petition with the state human rights commission (SHRC).
The major paraded 26-year-old Farooq Ahmad Dar for five hours through 17 villages during the violence-marred bypoll to the Srinagar parliamentary constituency on April 9.
The man allegedly threw stones at security forces, a charge he dismissed saying he was a voter and wrongfully accused by the army.
Untoo’s plea on behalf of Dar sought to know the merit of the army’s decision to honour Gogoi, who is facing a court of inquiry.
The army officer was praised and pilloried in equal parts for his action, which he defended on Monday as an act that “saved lives”. Dar countered that the major was “lying to save himself”.
The Kashmir Valley, besieged by a decades-old separatist movement, reacted in anger when Gogoi was awarded the Chief of Army Staff’s commendation card on Monday for “sustained efforts in counter-insurgency operations”.
Separatist leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Omar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik announced on Thursday peaceful protests after on May 26 against the “inhuman act”.
Untoo complained to the human rights commission Gogoi’s act is “not only illegal but against the settled principles of international humanitarian law”. In another complaint, he sought a restraint order against media houses were referring to Dar as a stone-pelter without evidence.
Dar of central Kashmir’s Budgam district has been denying the charge, asking why would he vote that day and then join the stone-throwing crowd protesting against the democratic exercise. He said he would never vote again.
This was Untoo’s second petition after the one on April 19, in which he complained against the army’s use of Dar as a human shield. The commission directed the government and police to reply the petition.
News reports said director general of police replied that Dar was “tied with ropes to an army vehicle … keeping him under wrongful confinement and making him a human shield act”.
The commission is likely to hear the case on June 5.
First Published: May 25, 2017 19:53 IST