Human Shield: Army inquiry gives Major clean chit

SRINAGAR: The Major rank officer who gave Kashmir the first evidence that human shield phenomenon exists in Kashmir has been given a clean chit by an internal inquiry, India Today has reported. The court of inquiry (CoI) has not recommended any action against him.

The army had convened CoI on April 15, two days after police registered an FIR in the case. The officer belongs to 53-RR, the report said.

“No action has been recommended against the Major,” the report said, quoting a “source” saying: “Court martial is out of the question. Not even disciplinary action was recommended against the officer.”

The Major identified as Nitin Gogoi was leading the five-vehicle convoy, escorting 12 poll officials along with nine ITBP men and two cops, the report informs. “The major had reportedly come up with the idea to escape stone-pelting mobs during the by-election to Srinagar,” the report said.

The report filed by Kamaljit Kaur Sandhu quoted “highly placed sources” saying that the inquiry has given him a clean. “..contrary to the hue and cry generated by the clipping on social media, senior army officers had appreciated the presence of mind of the officer to avoid casualties or injuries,” the report said, quoting a source saying: “”He was congratulated for his acumen and presence of mind that saved many lives.”

Senior officers have reportedly termed it ‘one-off incident that was blown out of proportion’. “In the Army, attaining the objective is more important,” the report quoted an officer saying. “The means used by the officer could have been different, but the objective was perfectly met.”

Gogoi, the report said is of an ACC background with a decade long experience.

The April 9 incident involved a Shawl weaver Farooq Ahmad Dar who was caught by troops, soon after he cast his vote, and tied over the their jeep’s bonnet as a human shield. Dar is still unwell and is being treated for serious psychological ailment.

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