Jammu and Kashmir Police on Tuesday clarified that the investigation into Army officer Leetul Gogoi using a civilian as a human shield will continue, PTI reported. The department’s statement follows reports the Chief of Army Staff, Bipin Rawat, giving Major Leetul Gogoi a commendation card for his “sustained efforts” on counter-insurgency.
Kashmir Inspector General of Police Muneer Khan said the First Information Report filed against Gogoi had not been withdrawn, ANI reported. “Once an FIR is lodged, the investigation has to be completed. The investigation will be done and its result will be shared,” Khan said. The police official said that the results of the investigation were a separate matter and that “it will be seen what is right and what is wrong.”
The Army had been criticised for using a man – identified as Farooq Dar – as a human shield during bye-elections in Kashmir on April 9. The Army, on May 15, had denied reports that Gogoi had been exonerated in the case. The incident had sparked a public debate on Army excesses in the region.
A video of an Army jeep driving through villages near Srinagar with Dar strapped to it had gone viral on social media. 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. Gogoi is an officer with the 53 Rashtriya Rifles Battalion.
However, Dar claimed that he was not part of a mob and had actually been detained while on his way to a condolence meeting.
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.