Kashmir jeep video: Attorney general backs army, says officer did ‘smart thing’
A purported video showing a man tied to the front of a jeep and driven around from village to village for hours has gone viral on social media and triggered nationwide outrage.Updated: Apr 19, 2017 22:11 IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
The government appeared to be backing the army on Monday after a controversial video showing a man being used as “human shield” in Kashmir triggered outrage, with the country’s top law officer saying the officer-in-charge “did a smart thing and defused a nasty situation”.
Attorney general Mukul Rohatgi said the armed forces were working under tremendous pressure and exercising great restraint.
The army found itself at the centre of a controversy after the video clip showing a man tied in front of an army jeep in Kashmir surfaced last week. Rohatgi said the major was summoned by officials in the poll booth since they were surrounded by several hundred stone pelters.
“The poll booth is symbolic of democracy. He (the major) should not be criticised. The army should be applauded. They are guarding our northern and north-eastern frontiers admirably,” Rohatgi said in a statement.
“They are a trained force responsible for their actions. Military operations cannot be subject of such discussions on social media.”
Meanwhile, army chief General Bipin Rawat emphasised the need to guard the “high reputation” of the army.
Addressing top officers at the Army Commanders’ Conference, Rawat also spoke about the “effective conduct of operations” in a synergised manner and complimented soldiers carrying out difficult tasks on the ground.
An army release quoted Rawat as saying that the army continues to hold a strong image and a professional reputation. The army chief asked the force to further strengthen that image and reputation.
After inaugurating the biannual conference, defence minister Arun Jaitley said, “Whenever the challenges multiply or their nature changes, the Indian Army has always outperformed itself.”
The conference comes at a time when the situation in Kashmir remains fragile and the force is investigating the circumstances that led to the ‘human shield’ controversy.
The major had ordered a resident to be tied in front of a Rakshak vehicle to ensure safe passage for a five-vehicle convoy he was leading.
According to army sources, the convoy was passing through a neighbourhood in Budgam area where hundreds had reportedly gathered to attack the security personnel with stones.
However, the man who was tied in front of the jeep claimed he was pulled from his motorcycle by army personnel, tied to the front of a jeep and driven around from village to village for hours.
First Published: Apr 17, 2017 22:06 IST