Major Nitin Gogoi, the Indian army officer who had ordered to tie a Kashmiri to his jeep’s bonnet in Budgam last month, has been awarded prestigious Army Chief Commendation Card for sustained efforts in counter-insurgency operations. In a press conference on Tuesday, the officer defended his action saying it saved lives. The video of the controversial incident sparked a major debate across the country over correctness of method employed by the army in a hostile situation. Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has slammed Centre’s move to honour Major Gogoi in the wake of the controversy given the probe against the officer is still underway. arguing. In an opinion piece in Indian Express, the National Conference leader made various points in support of his argument on why Major Gogoi’s decision to tie Farooq Dar on a jeep bonnet was wrong and would further complicate the situation in the valley.
Here is what Omar Abdullah said on the contentious issue:
1) Omar said it has been blindly accepted is that Dar was a “stone-pelter” hence he deserved what he got. However, Dar and local media claim that he was a voter who had cast his vote on the election day before this incident.
2 ) Omar also asked even if the man in question was a stonepelter, so whether the army was justified to use him as human shield. ” Even if he had been a stone-pelter, the army resorting to using an Indian citizen as a human shield is a moral and legal question that needs to be answered in congruence with the fundamental rights enshrined in our constitution, our laws and the principles.”
3) He also asked who gave Major Gogoi the authority to pronounce judgement and take such a call. “Did Major Gogoi have the right to pronounce the judgment and carry out the punitive action that he did?” he wrote in his column.
4) The former CM also said Dar’s rights were totally undermined by the army. “Were Dar’s rights — to liberty, dignity and constitutional remedy — tossed out of the window for the “greater good” — as perceived by Major Gogoi?” he said
5) Questioning army’s move, Omar asked, ” Will we or should we have to hold our army to the standards set by stone-pelters and agitating mobs now?”
6) He also wrote that Major Gogoi’s decision was in violation of the military code of conduct and the Geneva Convention.
7) He also said that the army has set a precedent that would allow an individual officer to take the law into his own hands and use an Indian citizen as a human shield when he deems it appropriate and necessary — to “save lives”? “It has opended windows for dynamic calls in Kashmir The consequences could be disastrous,” he added.
8) Underling army’s responsibility to not only fight for its own men but for civilians also, Omar wrote,” army is duty-bound to protect the citizens of this country and their fundamental rights — not only its own men and certainly not at the cost of civilians and their rights, in any given situation, ideal or not.