Human Shield case: Indian Army chief showing ‘criminal leadership’, says Human Rights Watch

Kenneth Roth, the Executive Director of New York based Human Rights Watch.

Srinagar: Indian Army chief is showcasing “criminal leadership”, noted Executive Director of Human Rights Watch on Tuesday in reaction to former’s backing of using human shields in Kashmir.

Gen Bipin Rawat, the Indian Army chief, on Monday had said backed the use of human as shields in conflict ridden Kashmir.

In a tweet quoting the news story published by The Indian Express Kenneth Roth – the rights defender – wrote, “Indian army chief shows criminal leadership, backing as “innovative” troops’ use of Kashmir man as a human shield.”

“The Indian Army is facing a dirty war in Jammu and Kashmir which has to be fought through ‘innovative’ ways, Gen Rawat had said stoutly defending the use of a Kashmiri as a ‘human shield’ by a young officer.

On April 09, 2017 when Srinagar Constituency witnessed a near-total boycott of Lok Sabha polls during which at least eight civilians were killed, a Major rank officer of Indian Army tied a weaver in Budgam district to the bonnet of his jeep before parading him through at least twelve villages.

Identified as Farooq Ahmad Dar, he still suffers from mental and physical trauma.

The tweet by Executive Director of Human Rights Watch added photo of Indian Army Chief, Gen Bipin Rawat.

Despite an inquiry pending against Nitin Leetul Gogoi – the accused Major – Gen Rawat awarded him for his “exemplary services in counter-insurgency in J&K as well as this act”.

“The main objective of awarding Major Leetul Gogoi, when a Court of Inquiry was finalising its probe into the incident, was to boost the morale of young officers of the force who are operating in a very difficult environment in the militancy-hit state,” Gen Rawat observed, “this is a proxy war and proxy war is a dirty war. It is played in a dirty way. The rules of engagements are there when the adversary comes face-to-face and fights with you. It is a dirty war… That is where innovation comes in. You fight a dirty war with innovations.”

The action by the Major, however, invited sharp reaction from across the political spectrum with a few army generals saying that “the action would haunt the image of Indian Army for long”.

Government of India, on the other hand, supported the Major and his action. This morning, Union Minister for Information, M Venkaih Naidu expressed GoI’s support to the statement by Gen Rawat.

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