Toothless SHRC gets fresh petition in human shield case

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Srinagar: A fresh application was moved before the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) on Wednesday to charge and prosecute Major Leetul Gogoi for using a civilian as human shield in Budgam on April 9 last year.
The application was moved by human rights defender Ahsan Untoo, who stated before the commission that eleven months had passed since the ugly incident but neither the police investigation had been completed nor a challan produced against Major Gogoi before a competent court.
Untoo requested the SHRC to direct the IGP (Inspector General of Police), Kashmir Range, and SSP (Senior Superintendent of Police) Budgam and SHO (Station House Officer) Beerwah to complete the investigation and produce a challan against the accused army officer before court.
Farooq Dar, a resident of Budgam village, was tied to the bonnet of an army jeep by soldiers led by Major Gogoi of the army’s 53 RR (Rashtriya Rifles) and then he was paraded through several villages on April 9, the day parliamentary by-polls were held for the Srinagar constituency. The day was marked with violence and eight civilians were killed by government forces during the day.
Instead of taking action against the officer, the army rewarded Major Gogoi with a citation.
Ahsan Untoo stated in his petition, “Eleven months have passed but no challan has been produced before court despite of the fact that everyone knows who the culprit officer was. It is imperative that for maintaining the faith in judiciary and police system, the accused has to be brought to justice, otherwise these incidents will occur frequently and these kind of officers will get encouraged to carry out such ugly incidents with innocent people.”
The SHRC had previously directed the J&K government to pay compensation to Farooq Dar of Rs 10 lakh in an order dated July 10, 2017. The government, however, has refused to pay the compensation.

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