Kashmiri Human Shield Moves Human Rights Body Against Major Gogoi

For over a month, Dar had not heard from the local police to register his statement.

3 min read
36-year-old Farooq Dar was tied to a jeep, allegedly as a human shield against stone-pelters during polling in the Srinagar Lok Sabha by-election. (Photo Courtesy: <a href="https://twitter.com/icashmir/media">Twitter/@icakashmir</a>

Farooq Dar – the Kashmiri who was infamously tied to an army jeep as a human-shield during the Srinagar by-elections on 9 April – has approached the Jammu and Kashmir Human Rights Commission and filed two complaints.

This comes after the rewarding of Major Leetul Gogoi with a commendation certificate by the Indian army. Major Gogoi was allegedly responsible for using Dar as a human shield.

In his complaint, Dar called Gogoi's act ‘illegal’, and “against the settled principles of international humanitarian law," reported Firstpost.

Not just this, Dar also objected to him being referred to as a stone-pelter by three news channels, namely Republic TV, Times Now, and India Today.

In an earlier interview to various media agencies, Dar had questioned Major Gogoi’s act, asking if ‘dragging a person for kilometres on end is an act of bravery’.

Dar said he was yet to be called by the police or the Army – which has instituted a court of inquiry into the incident – for his side of the story.

It is a complete eyewash... They were never serious. I am a small person and why should anyone care.

Dar was picked up by the Major after he had gone to vote in the Srinagar Parliamentary constituency election, defying calls from militant groups to boycott the bypoll.

Major Leetul Gogoi is said to have tied Dar to the jeep's bonnet as a shield against the stone pelters, who had allegedly surrounded a group of armed personnel.

A video of Dar tied to the jeep went viral, triggering a public outcry. The outrage prompted the Army to institute a probe into the incident. The Jammu and Kashmir police also registered a case.

It has been over a month since then and I am yet to hear from the local police. Even my statement has not been registered.

The newly appointed Inspector General of Police (Kashmir range), Munir Khan, had said earlier in Sopore that the police would carry out an investigation into the matter and that the FIR had not been quashed, as many feared.

An FIR means the beginning of an investigation. So once an FIR is lodged, the investigation begins. Whatever comes out of the investigation is a separate matter, but the investigation will take place and it will be seen what is right and what is wrong.
Munir Khan, General of Police (Kashmir range)

Meanwhile, Dar regrets having stepped out to vote.

I wonder whether tying a person to a jeep are his efforts in counter-insurgency operations. I voted and was apparently penalised for this.

His life, he said, has changed after the incident.

"People keep looking at me," the 27-year-old man who earns his living by embroidering shawls said.

I was told that my statement had to be recorded but that has not happened so far. Even if the Army is conducting its own inquiry, my statement is needed for I am the victim.

Dar believes the state and central governments were trying ‘bury the truth’ in the files.

The state police – which took action after the video generated widespread outcry – registered a case of abduction with an intent to cause grievous hurt, wrongful confinement, and criminal intimidation.

Information was received by the Beerwah Police station through reliable sources on 9 April that on the polling day of Parliament elections, a news item was being telecast that a person identified as Farooq Ahmed Dar had been illegally confined by Army personnel.

It said he had been tied with a rope to an Army vehicle at Ghondipora and turned into a human shield.

"On this information, the case has been registered and investigation taken up," the FIR filed in Urdu said.

(With inputs from PTI, Firstpost, Huffington Post.)

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