The ruling Hindutva party in India, the BJP, is it seems determined to antagonise the local population in Kashmir valley. They act as if they only consider the land of Kashmir as part of India , not the people living there. This is reflected in the award given to an army officer who became infamous by using a civilian tied to a jeep as a human shield against stone pelting by Kashmiris.
Major Leetul Gogoi, the army officer who tied a man to the bonnet of a jeep+ as a ‘shield’ against stone-pelting mob in Jammu and Kashmir, was awarded the Army Chief Commendation Card for sustained efforts in counter-insurgency operations.
“Major Gogoi has been awarded Chief of Army Staff’s Commendation Card for sustained efforts in counter-insurgency operations,” Army spokesperson Aman Anand said.
The officer was awarded by Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat during his recent visit to Jammu and Kashmir.
Major Gogoi of the 53 Rashtriya Rifles was in the spotlight after a video, shot during the April 9 Srinagar Lok Sabha by-poll and posted on social media showed a man tied on the bonnet of an army jeep in Badgam of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Army had been criticised for using the man as a human shield in the midst of byelections in Kashmir.
On May 15, the Army had denied reports that Major Nitin Gogoi had been exonerated in the case. The incident had sparked a public debate on Army excesses after National Conference spokesperson Junaid Mattu highlighted the incident.
On April 9, the Army jeep had driven through several villages near Srinagar with Farooq Dar strapped to it. Pinned to his chest was a note warning that this “would be the fate of stone pelters”. Though the Army never issued a statement about the incident, the general impression created was that Gogoi decided to take this step because he was on a mission to rescue security personnel trapped in a polling booth by a mob.
However, Dar claimed that he was not part of a mob and had actually been detained while on his way to a condolence meeting.
A video of the incident went viral on social media and invited widespread condemnation. On April 13, the Jammu and Kashmir police filed an FIR at the Beerwa police station in Budgam district, where the video was believed to have been shot.
The Army had set up a Court of Inquiry on April 20, days after the video surfaced.
The Modi government is not at all in a hurry to do something to reduce the hostility of Kashmiris towards the Centre. On the other hand its fuelling the flames so that the division between Kashmiri Muslims and rest of India widens and this can then be used as a propaganda tool all over India against minorities and also against those political parties claiming to champion their rights.
Unfortunately those working in the security forces in Kashmir and the local population suffers the most due to this dangerous policy.