Kashmir human shield row: SHRC terms Major Leetul Gogoi's action illegal, demands Rs 10 lakh for Farooq Ahmad Dar
State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) on Monday termed the Kashmir human shield incident 'illegal' while directing the Jammu and Kashmir government to pay Rs 10 lakh to victim Farooq Ahmad Dar
Srinagar: More than two months after Kashmiri youth Farooq Ahmad Dar was tied to the bonnet of an army jeep and paraded around the street, the Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) on Monday gave its verdict on the case, terming the act 'illegal' and directing the state to pay the victim a compensation of Rs 10 lakh.
Twenty-six-year-old Dar was tied to the bonnet of an army jeep allegedly by Major Leetul Gogoi of 53 Rashtriya Rifles on 19 April when the by-elections for the Srinagar parliamentary constituency were being held. Gogoi had later paraded Dar through the streets in order deter stone pelters and had held him at an army camp before handing him over to his family.
The action, though criticised by several human rights activists and political parties including separatist groups, was hailed by the Indian Army as a precaution against stone pelters. In fact, Gogoi was awarded a commendation by Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat.
SHRC chairperson, Justice Bilal Nazki, who delivered the judgment on Monday, criticised the action stating that even the law doesn’t permit to handcuff a convict.
“As far as law of protection of human dignity is concerned the law of this country as a general principle doesn’t permit even chaining and handcuffing of a person including convicts, how can one approve of making an innocent person a human shield and parading him in chains tied to the jeep for hours," the human rights commission observed.
The Commission also observed that Farooq was subjected to torture and “humiliation" besides being "wrongly confined".
The judgment came over two months after the case came to light and drew widespread condemnation from the political parties both mainstream as well as separatists in Kashmir.
Nazki informed through the judgment that "it is also medically established that Dar didn’t suffer only humiliation publicly, but also suffered trauma which resulted into psychological stress which may remain with him for rest of his life."
The Commission directed the state government to pay a compensation of Rs 10 lakh to Dar for “humiliation", "physical and psychological torture", and wrongful restraint and confinement.
"The order shall be complied by the state government within six weeks time," the report observed, adding that the chief secretary of the state shall file compliance report before the commission within the same period.
The commission's order said that a police report accepted that Farooq was tied to the bonnet of an army vehicle and used as a human shield.
"There can’t be any debate as to whether the treatment given to Dar was in violation of human rights or not. There are laws in this country and international laws which prohibit such a treatment even to a convict. Such a treatment of human being can’t be accepted by a civilised society," it observed.
Dar was lifted by the Army on 9 April when polling was being held for the Srinagar parliamentary seat, the commission observed, while noting that incidents of stone pelting were reported in the jurisdiction of police station Beerwah. Farooq, accompanied by a local resident, Hilal Ahmad Magray, had proceeded to village Gampora to offer condolence and had reached Utligam, and it was from there that the army lifted him and tied to the bonnet of the vehicle, it said.
Dar had filed the case with the SHRC through Mohammad Ehsan Untoo, human rights activist and chairman of International Forum for Justice and Human Rights.
“The army conduct has been draconian in the case and they have trampled the human rights of a innocent man. No action is taken against the officers by the concerned authorities and it is shameful that the office is being shielded, when ideally he should have been behind the bars. The police have already registered a case of wrongful confinement," Untoo said, while demanding strong action against the army officials involved in the case.
The PDP's political affairs committee, headed by Mehbooba Mufti, will take a final call on its participation in the meeting to be chaired by Narendra Modi on 24 June
Meanwhile, an official order in this regard stated that all government and recognised private schools up to Class 12 that fall in the Jammu division (summer zone) will observe summer vacation from 8 to 25 June as per past practice
News18 quoted sources privy to the developments as saying that the region will be granted statehood soon as promised in the past by the Centre, however, there will be no talks on restoring its special constitutional position