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Despite Furore Over Human 'Shield' Army Backs Commander Behind it

There may be much furore on social media about the 'jeep incident' in the Kashmir valley, but sources say the army as of now is completely backing the young QTR Commander behind it.

Shreya Dhoundial | CNN-News18

Updated:April 17, 2017, 7:28 PM IST
Despite Furore Over Human 'Shield' Army Backs Commander Behind it
Representative image.

New Delhi: There may be much furore on social media about the 'jeep incident' in the Kashmir valley, but sources say the army as of now is completely backing the young QTR Commander behind it.

Sources say there is still no movement on a court of inquiry against the officer who strapped a civilian to the bonnet of his Rakshak, to get clear passage after being surrounded by a mob of stone-pelters in Budgam.

Any action against the officer will depend on the facts emerging. A court of inquiry is the standard operating procedure in matters like these.

Not just the army but top bosses in India's security establishment also feel the officer did no wrong. They say the major had a team of 15 with him, and it was his responsibility to save the 24 people he had rescued from the polling booth. His 'out of box' thinking ensured that not a shot was fired, not a drop of blood was spilt.

ALSO READ | J&K Police File FIR Against Army for Tying Man to Jeep as 'Human Shield'

The government though is speaking in multiple voices. A top sources has told News18 that whatever the provocation, using a civilian as a human shield by the army is not acceptable.

But Minister of State in the PMO Jitendra Singh says, "We shouldn't say anything that lowers the morale of our soldiers. Any comments by politicians who are pro-terrorist or people who are aiding terrorists should be condemned."

The Attorney General of India Mukul Rohatgi is seconding that view. In an interview to CNN-News18 he has said "It was one of those spur of the moment decisions. If the major got away without hurting anybody, it's a great job done. If it has to be done again, it should be done again. We are 100 percent backing the army and the major."

The Jammu and Kashmir police have filed an FIR against the army unit to which the major belongs.

The video at the centre of the raging debate was shot on 9th of April, the day Srinagar went to polls. The army maintains they got an SOS from a polling party that was surrounded by a mob of stone-pelters at a voting booth in Budgam.

ALSO READ | J&K: Man Seen Tied to Army Jeep in Video Identified

This team consisted of 12 ITBP personnel, 9 civilian staff and 2 personnel of the Jammu and Kashmir police. As the army extricated all of them and moved back they were surrounded by a mob of 200-300 stone-pelters. The Quick Reaction Team (QRT) Commander then picked up a man from the crowd, strapped him to the bonnet of his Rakshak to get clear passage. The other option, sources in the army, was to open fire at the crowd which the major chose not to do.

But Farooq Dar, the 36-year-old victim, claims he was picked up when he was on way to his sister's house, where a bereavement had occurred. This right after he had cast his vote.

Dar, now claims, he will never vote again.

Dar claims he was moved around 10-12 villages at the head of the convoy, which included vehicles with security personnel and polling staff, before being let off.

| Edited by: Ananya Chakraborty
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