Kashmir protests award to Army major in human shield row

Widespread protests were witnessed across Kashmir against the award to Army Major Leetul Gogoi who tied a Kashmiri youth to the bonnet of his vehicle and later paraded him through different roads on April 9, the elections for Srinagar parliamentary seat were held.

 Protests were witnessed in parts of Srinagar as well as in Sopore as youth fought pitched battles with forces. A joint resistance front of JKLF Chairman, Yaseen Malik, Hurriyat (G) Chairman, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, and Hurriyat (M) Chairman, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, had called upon people to protest the award to the Army major after the Friday prayers here. 

Mirwaiz led a protest march inside the Jamia mosque precincts against Army chief’s commendation card to Major Gogoi. Holding placards, the protestors raised slogans against the government and the Army and demanded action against the Major. He also made a “fervent appeal” to the United Nations, UNHRC, ICJ, and international human rights bodies to take strong note and play their role in preventing Indian military from committing “heinous war crimes against Kashmiri civilians”.

Addressing the Friday congregational gathering at the historic Jamia Masjid in downtown Srinagar, Mirwaiz said that Kashmiri people are being subjected to worst forms of state atrocities at the hands of forces over the past 30 years “in particular with impunity and there is hardly any method of repression which has been left unused against us.” Youth also took to streets and fought with the forces in protest to the award to Army Major.

Two persons suffered pellet injuries today in clashes between stone-pelting protesters and forces in the vicinity of the Jamia Masjid in old Srinagar after the Friday prayers, police said. The clashes broke out soon after the congregational prayers ended at the Jamia Masjid and other nearby mosques and shrines and two persons who suffered pellet injuries during the clashes were admitted to a hospital here for treatment. 

The condition of both injured is stated to be stable.

Clashes also erupted in Sopore town of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district after police used force to disperse youth protesting against the commendation to an army officer who tied a Kashmiri civilian to his jeep. Scores of youth assembled near Markazi jamia Masjid area of Sopore and raised slogans against the government forces. The protesting youth pelted stones at forces who retaliated by lobbing teargas shells.

Shopkeepers downed their shutters in Main Bazar area and the traffic movement was hit due to the clashes. Among others senior separatist leader and president Anjuman Shari Shain, Aga Syed Hasan condemned the honouring of an Indian Army officer who tied a civilian in Kashmir to a vehicle and used him as human shield. During his Friday congregational address, Aga Syed Hasan said that Army Major brazenly used a Kashmiri youth as a human shield, is an act of cowardice and insult to humanity.

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