Indian officer who used Kashmiri as human shield awarded commendation card

NEW DELHI (Daily Dunya) – In another move of encouraging Indian troops to commit grave human rights violations in occupied Kashmir, Indian army officer who tied a Kashmiri man to his jeep as a human shield has been awarded a commendation card by the military.

According to ANI, Maj Gogoi of Rashtriya Rifles branch was awarded by Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat for his “sustained efforts” in counterinsurgency.

“This has been given to Major Leetul Gogoi, who has been deployed in counter-insurgency operations for more than one year,” army spokesman Aman Anand told AFP by phone. “It has been given for his sustained efforts over a period of time.” The spokesman refused to address the ongoing investigation.

But an army source who asked not to be named said the probe was being finalised, adding, “Whatever indicators are emerging have been taken in consideration as well.”

Kashmiri human rights activist Khurram Khurram Parvez said the award showed India could behave with “absolute impunity” in the region. “This reward means India upholds torture as a means of saving lives and as a part of its counter-insurgency war in Kashmir,” he told AFP. “This is a signal to people in Kashmir that India can do anything here with absolute impunity.”

Responding to the news, the victim’s brother Ghulam Qadir called the inquiry a “mockery”. “He has confined himself to his room. Had this kind of an incident taken place elsewhere then justice would have been done,” the Indian Express daily quoted him as saying.

A video which surfaced in April showed a Kashmiri man tied to the bonnet of an army jeep in bid to prevent stone-hurling at the personnel and caused a public outcry in the restive Himalayan region. An inquiry was ordered into the incident but the brutally disgusting violation of human rights had little effect on the jury probing the issue after a furor. The army officer was reportedly acquitted and given a ‘clean chit’ in the case.

The man was later discovered to be 26-year-old shawl maker Farooq Ahmad Dar, a resident of Chil village. Enraged and humiliated by the Indian army’s act, he demanded the government to take action against the army personnel.