Kashmir human shield row: Army veterans divided over Major Leetul Gogoi's action

New Delhi: Army veterans on Tuesday appeared to be divided over a commendation card which was awarded to Major Leetul Gogoi, who had tied a man to a jeep in Kashmir purportedly as a shield against stone-pelters.

Lt Gen (retd) HS Panag, former GOC-in-C, Northern Command, criticised the move saying Gogoi's action was unbecoming of the traditions followed by the Indian Army.

 Kashmir human shield row: Army veterans divided over Major Leetul Gogois action

A Kashmiri man was used as a human shield by Major Leetul Gogoi. Firstpost/Suhail Bhat

"IA (Indian Army) traditions, ethos, rules & regs swept away by the 'mood of the nation'! I stand by my views even if I am the last man standing!" Panag tweeted.

Gogoi was honoured on Monday with army chief's commendation card for his" sustained efforts in counter-insurgency operations".

Major Gen (retd) Ramesh Chopra came out in support of Gogoi.

"With his innovative thinking, he saved lives of people and that has to be appreciated. I give him full marks for his presence of mind," Chopra said.

Col Anil Kaul (retd), who served in the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) in Sri Lanka, said Gogoi deserved more than a commendation card because of his "out of the box thinking".

"He saved lives of people without even firing a bullet despite being attacked by stone-pelters. His act should be applauded and he should be given a Shaurya Chakra," Kaul said.

Breaking his silence on Tuesday, Gogoi said about 1200 stone-pelters had surrounded a small group of security personnel at a polling booth in Utligam village of Budgam district on 9 April. He claimed that if he had ordered firing, there could have been at least 12 casualties.

The mob, which included women and children, was threatening to set ablaze the polling booth, he claimed.

Amid the mob, he claimed to see a man who appeared to be the "ring leader" as he was "instigating" the stone-pelters at Utligam on the day of bypoll to Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency.

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Updated Date: May 24, 2017 07:32:33 IST