Presence of Mind or Illegal Act? Opinions Split on Gogoi’s Award
Major Gogoi tied a human shield to an army to avoid stone pelters. (Photo: ANI)
Major Gogoi tied a human shield to an army to avoid stone pelters. (Photo: ANI)

Presence of Mind or Illegal Act? Opinions Split on Gogoi’s Award

The army chief General Bipin Rawat’s commendation of Major Gogoi who tied a human shield to an army jeep to avoid getting pelted with stones has split the masses in two.

As one half of the country lauded Gogoi for his “presence of mind” that avoided a face-off between the army and Kashmiris, the other half disapproved of the violation of human rights of Farooq Dar who claimed that he wasn’t even a stone-pelter and had simply gone out to cast his vote when the army picked him up and tied him to a jeep.

Former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah wrote in The Indian Express that although Kashmir isn’t an ideal operational atmosphere for the army, justifying that Major Leetul Gogoi tying a human shield was for the “great good” will give the army the freedom to toss out people’s liberties in the future.

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Differing from Omar Abdullah, in a column for The Indian Express, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who has vocally praised Major Gogoi, said that India’s jawans are exposed to all types of threats everyday which calls for daring actions in complex situations.

Also Read: Army’s Award to Major Gogoi Counterproductive: Ramachandra Guha

Writing for The Indian Express , journalist Praveen Swami argued that the army chief’s commendation and Capt Amarinder Singh’s approval encourages hypocrisy and allows the government to ignore the law and the Constitution itself.

Journalist Karan Thapar said that the army chief’s commendations were “disheartening”. In The Indian Express, he wrote that no matter how you look at it, “strapping Farooq Ahmed Dar to the front of a jeep and parading him through the villages of Kashmir was illegal and, more importantly, immoral.”

But V Raghunathan holds an entirely different view in his piece for Times of India. Using the analogy of a train driver who has to either derail the train to save lives of a few children playing on the railway track, or run over the children and save the train’s passengers, he wrote that the dilemma has no right or wrong answer.

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