Kashmiri ‘Human Shield’ Was Instigating Stone-Pelters: Major Gogoi

Major Leetul Gogoi said it was a “do or die” situation and added that he saved lives by using a “human shield”.

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(Photo: ANI)

Major Leetul Gogoi, the man who tied a Kashmiri man to a jeep as a ‘human shield’, was awarded for his “sustained efforts on counter-insurgency operations” by Army Chief Bipin Rawat on Monday.

He spoke about what led to the incident, the video which went viral last month and sparked controversy, in an exclusive interview to NewsX.

Major Gogoi said he saved lives with his action in Budgam on the day of the bypoll. He said there were 58 polling booths under him and he received a distress call from two of them in a span of a few hours about stone-pelters disrupting the election process.

I received a call from Putligam, where nearly 1,200 stone-pelters were throwing stones, and were ready with petrol bombs to burn down the polling booth. 

(Photo: Akriti Paracer/<b>The Quint</b>)
(Photo: Akriti Paracer/The Quint)

He said that tying Farooq Ahmed Dar deterred people from throwing stones for a while.

It was a quick decision and I didn’t fire even one bullet... I ended up saving a lot of lives.

Officials inside the polling booths were crying as they were worried and had placed the distress calls, Gogoi said.

It was a do or die situation.

Major Gogoi said he didn’t anticipate that the video of his operation would go viral on the internet and would cause such an uproar.

(Photo: Akriti Paracer/<b>The Quint</b>)
(Photo: Akriti Paracer/The Quint)

On his response to Omar Abdullah and other politicians who condemned the incident, Gogoi said:

Farooq Dar knows why he came nearly 20 km away to a polling booth to vote... Kashmir has its own Constitution and the politicians need to understand what would have happened had I fired bullets in that situation.
(Photo: Akriti Paracer/<b>The Quint</b>)
(Photo: Akriti Paracer/The Quint)

Major Gogoi’s version directly contradicts the claims of human shield victim Farooq Ahmed Dar. After the incident came to light, Dar told the media that he had gone to cast his vote at the polling booth when he was picked up by the Army to be paraded around the streets.

Everyone on TV was saying I was pelting stones and so I deserved it. But the truth is, I have proof that I voted and then left my village to attend the funeral of my relative. How can I expect justice from anyone?
Farooq Ahmad Dar

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