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Kashmir Watch

The newly elected Chief Minister of Punjab, Amarinder Singh, writing in this paper (‘I applaud Major Gogoi’, IE, May 20) joined the debate about the well-publicised incident in which, on April 9, Farooq Ahmed Dar, a shawl weaver from Chil-Bras village in Budgam, Kashmir, was tied to the bonnet of a Rashtriya Rifles jeep and paraded around several villages, with a placard tied to his chest.

 

The army’s commendation of Major Nitin Leetul Gogoi, the officer who tied Farooq Ahmed Dar, a Kashmiri artisan, to an army jeep’s bonnet and paraded him, apparently using him as a human shield for his troops against stone-pelters, is a troubling move.

 

On April 9, the day of the election to the vacant Srinagar parliamentary seat, a cornered paramilitary unit in Budgam district called the army for assistance to secure a polling booth they were afraid would be run over by a mob.

 

It defies all logic that an Indian army officer responsible for using a man in India-held Kashmir as a human shield should now be commended by his chief for making “sustained efforts in counter-insurgency operations”.

 

It defies all logic that an Indian army officer responsible for using a man in India-held Kashmir as a human shield should now be commended by his chief for making “sustained efforts in counter-insurgency operations”.

 

The various communities of the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) — Muslims, Pandits, Dogras and Ladakhis — have time and again tried to forge a national consciousness.

 

Major Leetul Gogoi, the officer in the eye of the “human shield”storm has trouble coming his way. Kashmir Police, who registered an FIR in the case last month have refused to drop the case against him.

 

On April 9, when Farooq Ahmed Dar, was tied to the front of an Army jeep in Jammu and Kashmir’s Budgam area and used as a ‘human shield’ by security forces, I refrained from writing on it — opinion was deeply divided and I was deeply conflicted. On hindsight, it wasn’t the best course of action.

 

Home minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday said that the NDA government would find a permanent solution to Kashmir.

 

I recently received an extraordinary email from a troubled young Kashmiri in Srinagar. Days before the Indian authorities turned off the internet, Saif (not his real name) had watched on YouTube the 45-minute video documentary Crossing the Lines — Kashmir, Pakistan, India that I had helped make in 2004 and mostly agreed with its non-partisan narrative.

 


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