Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has said the use of a Kashmiri man as a human shield by a major of the Indian army in April this year was a “mistake committed by one officer” for which the “the entire Army, which is the most disciplined force in the world” can’t be held responsible.
She made the remarks in New Delhi while speaking at the Express Adda— a series of informal interactions organised by The Indian Express Group— on Friday.
However, she said, to “glorify this act was wrong”, and blamed the media for it. “That mistake was committed by one person. He had no right to do it. But it was glorified, that was the worst part. That was totally wrong,” she said.
Farooq Ahmad Dar, a resident of Budgam, was used as a human shield and paraded through several villages of the central Kashmir district by Major Gogoi during the bypoll to the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat on April 9.
Gogoi, who was honoured by the Indian army for his “innovative action,” had claimed that Dar was “instigating” a stone-throwing mob and could have been their “ring leader.”
A report by the Jammu and Kashmir police in September, however, confirmed Dar’s claim that he had gone out to vote and was not throwing stones when Gogoi kidnapped and thrashed him and paraded him through several villages tied to the bonnet of his jeep.
Gogoi was hailed as a “hero” by sections of the Indian media who flashed pictures of Dar tied to the bonnet of Gogoi’s jeep referring to the Kashmiri man as ‘coward’ and ‘stone pelter’.
“During investigation, it came to surface that the victim Farooq Ahmad Dar cast his vote at polling booth in his native village, Chill. After casting his vote, he along with Hilal Ahmad Magrey left for condolence meeting to Gampora,” the police had said.
He was picked up by the Army as he reached Ultigam crossing, tied to bonnet of the Army vehicle “as human shield under threat, kept under wrongful confinement and paraded/moved around within the area,” it had said.
The State Human Rights Commission had directed the Jammu and Kashmir government to pay Rs 10 lakh as compensation to Dar and said he was “subjected to torture and humilitaion, besides being wrongly confined.”