Other States

Army honours Major who tied Kashmir 'stone-pelter' to military vehicle

A grab from the video, purportedly shot in Budgam on April 9, showing a youth tied to an Army vehicle.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

In a surprising move, the Army on Monday announced that the Major who tied a Kashmiri to a military vehicle as a precaution against pelting of stones has been awarded a commendation by Army Chief General Bipin Rawat.

The Army Chief’s decision comes even as the Court of Inquiry (CoI) against Major Leetul Gogoi continues and in the face of intense criticism of the action from various sections, including many within the Army.

“Major Leetul Gogoi has been awarded COAS Commendation Card for sustained efforts in Counter Insurgency (CI) operations,” sources in the Army said on Monday.

On April 9, on election eve, stone-pelter Farooq Ahmed Dar was tied up in front of a SUV as a human shield in Budgam district. However, the government defended the action and the Army ordered a Court of Inquiry (CoI) to determine the circumstances of the incident.

“The award was given for his good work in CI operations in the Valley, including this incident,” a source said, adding that Gen. Rawat decided to give the Commendation during his recent visit to the Valley and it was presented to Maj Gogoi through proper channels.

The CoI is yet to conclude and officials said that it was a long process. “There are a lot of civilian witnesses to whom summons have been issued,” an Army source said, adding that it would take some time.

“Image of a 'stone pelter' tied in front of a jeep as a 'human shield', will forever haunt the Indian Army & the nation,” Lt. Gen. HS Panag, former Northern Commander, had tweeted after the incident.

Following this, he was criticised by many on the social media for questioning the Army. However, after the award of commendation to Maj Gogoi, he stood by his earlier statement. "Indian Army traditions, ethos, rules & regulations swept away by the "mood of the nation"! I stand by my views even if I am the last man standing," Lt Gen Panag tweeted on Monday night.

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Printable version | Apr 14, 2021 1:35:27 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/army-honours-major-who-tied-civilian-to-military-vehicle/article18525441.ece

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