The Indian Army officer who used a citizen as a human shield in Jammu and Kashmir last month, claiming that the man was a stone-pelter, was given an award by the military for his “sustained efforts” on counter-insurgency, ANI reported. Chief of Army Staff General Bipin Rawat gave Major Leetul Gogoi a commendation card for counter-insurgency operations.
The Army had been criticised for using a man – identified as Farooq Dar – as a human shield during byelections in Kashmir on April 9.
On May 15, the Army had denied reports that Major Leetul 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 Sunday, veteran Bollywood actor and Bharatiya Janata Party lawmaker Paresh Rawal made a reference to the incident, when on Twitter he said writer and activist Arundhati Roy should also be tied to an Army jeep in the same way in Kashmir.
On April 9, the Army jeep had driven through several villages near Srinagar with shawl workers 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.