The army has not provided the names of its personnel who used a Kashmiri man as a human shield during by-elections in Budgam earlier this year despite repeated reminders by the police, the government has told the high court.
In a report submitted to the court on Thursday, senior additional advocate general Bashir Ahmad Dar said, “Despite chain of communications and subsequent reminders the coy commander of 53-RR camp Beerwah has not provided the nominal roll of the army personnel of the vehicle bound party.”
“The investigation of the instant case is going on and after obtaining reports from District Election Officer Beerwah, coy commander 53RR camp Beerwah, and expert opinion with regard to video clip related to the victim from CFSL Chandigarh, the investigation of the case will be concluded.”
Hindustan Times reports that the sub-divisional police office (SDPO) at Magam of Budgam district had “sent at least five reminders to the coy commander 53RR camp in Beerwah since April.”
“ In another letter dated November 27 to the Commanding Officer of the 53RR camp, the SDPO had asked whether a certain army vehicle bearing number 339Y was allotted to that unit.”.
The letter continued, “If the said vehicle is allotted to your unit the name of the officer with rank and coy location may kindly be intimated who used the said vehicle for performing of duties on the date of by-poll election i.e 9-4-2017, in Gundipora-Beerwah area.”
The SDPO reiterated in his reminders that due to no information from the army officer concerned, “the investigation of instant case is lingering without any progress”.
“For the logical conclusion of the case you are once again requested to provide the nominal roll of vehicle bound party and direct them to appear before the investigating agency (SDPO Magam) forthwith,” said the fifth reminder filed in November.
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.”