Exclusive: ‘Human Shield’ Farooq Dar On Battling Scars, A Year On
On 9 April 2017, 27-year-old Farooq Ahmad Dar was tied to the bonnet of an army jeep as a “human shield”, and paraded through 17 villages in Kashmir’s Badgam district. One year later, the six-hour parade still haunts Dar, who still believes that the system “wronged him”.
In an exclusive interview to The Quint, the then shawl-weaver Dar opens up about battling depression, how he believes voting was a “mistake”, his problems with representation of the incident – including the recently released Baaghi 2 and the printing of T-shirts by a BJP leader.
A dejected Dar said that he has been “wronged” and was treated like an animal and not a human being. He claimed that though there was no law that mandated Major Leetul Gogoi to tie him to the jeep and parade him, he still did so and that his “life was over”.
The incident took place during the by-elections in 2017, when Dar was among the 7.1 percent voters who turned up to exercise their right. But again, one year later, Dar regrets his decision.
“I Thought My Life Was Over”
According to Dar, no one came forward to help him after the incident, until Human Rights Lawyer Mohammed Ahmad Untoo approached him. Not only did he take care of the legal aspects that cropped up after the incident, he also reportedly gave Dhar the courage to “stand up for himself”.
Eventually, Dar says, he slipped into depression and needed medical attention.
He also added that no one was ready to employ him, as several agencies, including the CID and the police, were constantly on the lookout for him.
On “Misrepresentation” of the Incident
In a recently released film Baaghi 2, Tiger Shroff plays a army commando in Kashmir who apprehends a man, ties him to the front of his jeep and uses him as a human shield to get through a lane full of stone-pelters. The scene is a reference to what happened with Dar.
Slamming the portrayal in the film, Dar said that it was a “misrepresentation of facts”.
He also called out BJP leader Tajinder Bagga, who printed T-shirt marking one year after the incident. Not only did he appeal to Bagga to stop producing the t-shirts, he also said that such incidents make him feel “depressed”.
It is to be noted that till date, no evidence has been found that Dar was guilty of any crime when he was tied to the jeep. The army, however, awarded Major Gogoi a commendation card for 'sustained efforts' on counter-insurgency operations.
Video Editor: Mohd Irshad Alam
(With inputs from Aijaz Khan from Srinagar)
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