Indian officer who used man as human shield is given an award

Farooq Dar was tied to jeep to be used as a shield against protesters who were attacking the military convoy Farooq Dar was tied to jeep to be used as a shield against protesters who were attacking the military convoy

14 June 2017
The Indian army has given an award to an officer after he was accused of using a man as a human shield. This award has caused outrage amongst many.

On April 9th, in Kashmir, an officer of the Indian army tied a man to a jeep and used him as a human shield, as a way to stop protesters from throwing stones at a military convoy.

The incident was just one amongst many violent protests that came after the by-elections in the northern region of Kashmir, that started to cause violent clashes between civilians and security. The officer, Major Leetul Gogoi, was awarded the Chief of Army Staff’s Commendation Card for “his sustained efforts over a period of time”, according to spokesman Aman Anand. The victim, Farooq Ahmad Dar, stated that this award proved that the Indian army, “supports oppression and injustice”.

Kashmir is currently divided between India and Pakistan, but both countries claim the whole territory. Rebel groups in the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir have battled against authority to demand independence or a merger of the Himalayan portion with Pakistan. The recent by-elections were held to fill a position in Srinagar, after a member of parliament had resigned. The pro-independence Kashmiri activists called to boycott the elections, and protesters were met with violence by the Indian police forces. The event on the 9th of April resulted in eight dead  and more than 200 wounded.

The video of Dar was posted online on April 14th, and has received much outcry. Dar stated that the incident lasted six hours, leaving him traumatised and unable to work. Many human rights activists have come to the defence of Dar. Human rights campaigner, Khurram Parvez, stated that the award shows that India supports torture “as a means of saving lives and as a part of its counter-insurgency war in Kashmir”.

However, there are those who are on the side of Gogoi as well. Cabinet ministers, as well as the famous cricketer Virender Sehwag, are amongst many Indians who believe that Gogoi thought quickly and prevented more violence against the soldiers.

As of now, the police investigation regarding Gogoi is ongoing. But unfortunately Dar does not expect justice, as he states, “no one has gotten justice in Kashmir, so why would I?”


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