BUDGAM: Six months have passed since Budgam civilian Farooq Ahmad Dar was tied to the front of an army vehicle by Major Gogoi and his men, and then paraded around several villages in that state, an act that was captured on video and led to the State Human Rights Commission awarding compensation of Rs 2 lakh to Farooq Dar, but the police is yet to record the victim’s statement in the case they have registered over the incident.
This had been revealed in the police’s reply to a query filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. “The statement of the victim is required to be recorded,” the Jammu & Kashmir Police have replied.
The police have been maintaining all along that they are conducting an investigation in the alleged use of a civilian as human shield by the army. But the reply to the RTI query shows how sincere they are in this investigation.
Farooq Dar, a tailor by profession, was caught hold of in Utligam village by army officer Major Gogoi and his men on the day parliamentary by-elections were being held in Budgam. Dar was then tied to the bonnet of an army vehicle and paraded around the district. Major Gogoi later said this was a tactic meant to prevent stone-pelting on army vehicles. Major Gogoi received a commendation for this act from army chief Bipin Rawat and several ministers of the Government of India praised him for his “presence of mind” and “saving of lives” by using this tactic.
The RTI query asked the police whether they have had any communication with the army over this case. The reply stated that correspondence has been made with the army unit concerned to produce the accused men before police for their questioning.
The police also stated that they visited several villages through which Dar was allegedly paraded, in order to collect evidence. Police said that after the collection of evidence, the “investigation will be done on merits (of the evidence)”.
To the question asked in the RTI query that why the police had not returned the victim’s phone which he said the army took away from him, police said that no such claims have been put forth by the victim before them.
Dar has said in several interviews that Major Gogoi and his men snatched his mobile phone and have not returned it to him.
Giving more details in response to the RTI query, police said they have registered a case at police station Beerwah of FIR No 38/2017 under Section 342, 267, 506 RPC. A copy of the FIR the police have filed in the case is in the possession of Kashmir Reader.
The FIR (First Information Report) reads: “Police got reports from reliable sources that a video has widely been circulated on national and local media showing a man, identified as Farooq Ahmad Dar, who had been caught by army men at Utligam.”
The FIR further says that the army men allegedly caught hold of Dar and assaulted him.