Major Gogoi Indictment: Justice Delivered, Says ‘Human Shield’ Dar
Major Leetul Gogoi was indicted by an Army Court of Inquiry on Monday, 27 August.
Following the Army’s Court of Inquiry (CoI) indictment of Major Leetul Gogoi on Monday, 27 August, Farooq Ahmad Dar, an artisan who had been used as a ‘human shield’ by Gogoi last year, welcomed the decision saying, “justice has been finally done.”
Although Gogoi was indicted for allegedly ‘fraternising’ with a local woman in a Srinagar hotel and ‘being away from the place of duty while in operational area’, and not for the incident related to Farooq, the latter said that he was grateful for the judgement, which would lead to disciplinary action against the officer.
"I am thankful to the Almighty. The person who ruined my life has to face the wrath of God finally. God has his ways to do justice," Dar told PTI over phone from his home.
The 28-year-old embroidery artisan, who is struggling to pick up the threads of his life after the traumatic incident, said the army should have treated his case also on compassionate grounds and listened to his version of the incident that sparked an outrage.
On 9 April, 2017, a team led by Gogoi tied Dar to the bonnet of an army jeep to escape heavy stone pelting in central Kashmir's Budgam district, the image going on to make global headlines and putting the civilian-security polarisation in the Valley once again in spotlight.
It was election day for the Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency and Dar said he was on his way to cast his vote, braving the boycott call by separatist organisations. Eight people were killed in police firing on the day.
Investigations found Dar was on his way to his sister's place for a condolence visit after voting when the army picked him up and beat him mercilessly before tying him with ropes and parading him through nearly 28 villages.
Following the incident, Dar had been shunned by neighbours after a video of him being tied as a 'human shield' by Gogoi came in public domain.
Suffering from depression as he was boycotted by villagers for allegedly being a government agent, Dar recalled his repeated pleas to Gogoi to release him but he refused to pay heed.
The army major was arrogant with power and considered himself as my creator. However, little did he know that ‘Uski lathi mein awaaz nahi hai’ (lightning makes no sound until it strikes.)Farooq Dar
"I have not been able to understand my mistake. Was it going to the polling booth and casting my ballot wrong?" he said.
He said he continued to face a social boycott as people in his village Chill, in Budgam district, had distanced themselves after they learnt he had participated in the election process.
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