Pol parties get vociferous as Army ‘protects’ officer in human shield row


Political parties in Kashmir expressed anger over the action byArmy to protect its officer involved in the human shield case.

Former Chief minister Omar Abdullah has denounced as “farce” the Army’s court of inquiry (CoI) against Major Leetul Gogoi for strapping a man to a jeep’s bonnet as a “human shield”.

 His remarks came after the Major was felicitated by Army Chief, General Bipin Rawat, recently with a “commendation card “for his sustained efforts in counter-insurgency operations”.  “In future, please don’t bother with the farce of a military court of inquiry. Clearly the only court that matters is the court of public opinion,” Abdullah tweeted.

A video, showing the youth tied to the army vehicle during polling in the Srinagar Lok Sabha by-election on 9 April, had triggered a public outcry, prompting the Army to institute a probe and the police to register a case against the officer.

Abdullah suggested that the government was adopting double standards on issues of human rights violations.

“And international conventions like the Geneva/Vienna ones only count when India can accuse others of violations. Do as we say, not as we do,” the National Conference working president said.

Making an appearance on national TV, Major Gogoi had on Monday explained the “circumstances” around tying the man to the jeep, which he said saved at least 12 lives.

Earlier the women’s wing of Opposition National Conference (NC took out a rally against the award to the Army major who used 26 year old, Farooq Ahmad Dar, of Chill, as a human shield by tying him to the bonnet of his jeep during the April 9 by-poll in central Kashmir’s Budgam district.

The women started their march from the  party headquarters at  Nawa-i-Subh complex and marched towards the Radio Kashmir crossing where they were stopped by the police from proceeding onwards.

MLA Habba Kadal and senior NC leader Shameema Firdous said that the rally was organized against the award to the Army officer who used a Kashmiri man Farooq Ahmad Dar as a human shield.  Major Gogoi was on Monday awarded the Chief of Army Staff’s Commendation Card for his “sustained efforts in counter-insurgency operations.”

The protest was also staged against the human rights violations and student arrests across the valley.

The protesting women were carrying placards with messages: “Stop State Terrorism”, “Stop Arrests”, and “Start Dialogue Process”.

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