"We Are Punching Bags for Both India &Pakistan.I Was Tied to the Jeep Like An Animal And This Gets the Officer a Reward": Farooq Dar
SRINAGAR: The Army chief's 'Commendation Card' to a major-ranked officer accused of taking a human shield on the day of Srinagar Lok Sabha bypoll sparked an outrage on social media with the victim accusing the authorities of treating him "like an animal".
"We have becoming punching bags for both India and Pakistan. I was abducted and tied to the jeep like an animal and now they have rewarded the officer. What law will justify this? What kind of justice is this?" Farooq Ahmad Dar, the victim, told The Citizen.
He, however, expressed hope that the police case registered into the incident will be taken to its 'logical conclusion'. "I hope the police does its job well and punishes my perpetrators. Else, such incidents will erode the faith of people in the system," he said.
Dar, a shawl weaver, was going to attend a funeral after casting vote on April 9 when an Army patrol led by Major Leetul Gogoi allegedly assaulted him, strapped him to a jeep, purportedly as a shield against stone pelters, and paraded him through at least nine villages in Central Kashmir.
The incident evoked widespread condemnation across the globe with the politicians, civil society groups, rights activists, prominent citizens and even the Army veterans calling upon the Army to "punish" the accused officer following which a Court of Inquiry was set up. The J&K Police also has filed a case in the incident.
"Thank you @adgpi for slapping us Kashmiris hard and showing us our place. #MajorGogoiHonoured @narendramodi @PMOIndia @arunjaitley," Congress spokesperson, Salman Soz wrote on Twitter after the officer was rewarded.
"Major Gogoi being honoured is a slap across the face of the mainstream in Kashmir. Feel ashamed, disgusted and hopeless. What a travesty!," said Junaid Azim Mattu, spokesman of the Opposition National Conference in Jammu and Kashmir on Twitter.
The Hurriyat also reacted to the development. "#MajorGogoiHonoured "Pending Enquiry"not surprised frm an army with extra judicial killings/Mass Graves in thr list of"accolades"in #Kashmir," moderate Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq tweeted.
Major Gogoi, belonging to the 53 Rashtriya Rifles, was honoured with the Army chief's 'Commendation Card' for his 'sustained efforts' in counter- insurgency operations, a move seen as backing of the "illegal action" even as the Army maintained that a court of inquiry into the incident is "under finalisation".
"Honouring the war criminals (#Majorgogoi ) and killing innocents (Khalid Muzzafar) is the idea of justice in India. Such a shame. #Kashmir," Qadri Inzamam wrote on Twitter. "Army has put its seal of approval on what is quite simply wrong. The institutional consequences not immediately discernible, will be immense," said Sanjay Hegde.
Major Gogoi was given the award during Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat's visit to Jammu and Kashmir last week. The 'Commendation Card' is considered a prestigious award and is given for distinguished services and devotion to duty.