Army Major Honoured ‘for using Kashmiri as a human shield’

“These operations include the actions of the Major when a Kashmiri weaver was tied to the bonnet of an Army vehicle in Budgam”

Srinagar: A major rank officer in Indian army has been honoured by his chief for “sustained efforts of counterinsurgency”.

NDTV reported on Monday evening that the Chief of Army Staff, General Bipin Rawat, awarded Major Leetul Gogoi with a Chief of Army Staff Commendation Card.

Major Gogoi had tied a Budgam weaver Farooq Ahmad Dar to the bonnet of his jeep in April and paraded him through at least twelve villages in Budgam district. The action invited sharp reaction creating furore among people.

“Major Gogoi has been awarded COAS Commendation Card for sustained efforts in Counter-insurgency operations,” the news report said.

These operations, they added, include the actions of the Major on April 9 during the Srinagar by-election, when Dar was tied to the bonnet of an Army vehicle in Budgam.

Major belongs to 53 Rashtriya Rifles (RR) which operates in Kashmir.

FreePressKashmir tried to reach Srinagar based defence spokesperson for his comment but he did not respond to phone call from this office.

The army was ‘forced’ to form a court of inquiry (CoI) on April 15, to investigate the incident, the report of which is still awaited.  The report added that the Army chief has the authority to issue a Chief of Army Staff Commendation Card as “he sees fit”, irrespective of whether an inquiry report has been submitted.

On Friday, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley had also backed the actions of the officer, saying “he had the responsibility to save the lives of those involved in the by-election that day”.

After outrage over the video, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had asked for a detailed report from the state police and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said he would look into the incident.

The Jammu and Kashmir police filed a First Information Report on April 15, following which the army formed a court of inquiry.

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