Army Chief General Bipin Rawat. File photo | Photo Credit: Sandeep Saxena
Major Gogoi is still under inquiry for using Kashmiri as human shield
In a surprising move, Army on Monday announced that the Major who tied a Kashmiri to a military vehicle as a precaution against stone-pelters has been awarded a commendation by Army Chief General Bipin Rawat.
The Army Chief’s decision comes even as the Court of Inquiry (CoI) against Major Leetul Gogoi continues and in the face of intense criticism of the action from various sections including many within the Army.
“Major Leetul Gogoi has been awarded COAS Commendation Card for sustained efforts in Counter Insurgency (CI) operations,” Army sources said on Monday.
On April 9, on election eve, stone-pelter Farooq Ahmed Dar was tied up in front of a SUV as a human shield in Budgam district which drew sharp criticism. However the Government had defended the action and the Army ordered a Court of Inquiry (CoI) to determine the circumstances of the incident.
“The award was given for his good work in CI operations in the Valley including this incident,” a source said adding that Gen Rawat decided to give the Commendation during his recent visit to Kashmir valley and it was presented to Maj Gogoi through proper channels.
Meanwhile, the CoI ordered into the incident is yet to conclude and officials said that it is a long process. “There are a lot of civilian witnesses to whom summons have been issued,” one Army source said stating that it would take some time.
“Image of a 'stone pelter' tied in front of a jeep as a 'human shield', will forever haunt the Indian Army & the nation,” Lt Gen HS Panag, former Northern Commander had tweeted after the incident came to light.