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Kashmir Watch

It is highly regrettable that Gen. Bipin Rawat, the Chief of Army Staff, has chosen to justify and extol the actions of Maj. Leetul Gogoi, who used a Kashmiri civilian as a human shield against stone-pelters in Budgam on April 9.

 

The ice that has gripped the government’s policies on Kashmir is beginning to melt, but what it is revealing underneath is confusion.

 

Several prominent citizens from different walks of life have called for a declaration of ceasefire in Kashmir during the month of Ramzan, beginning on Friday. Their appeal needs to be immediately heeded, both by the Centre and the state government.

 

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.

 


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