Police report on Kashmir’s human shield: Farooq voted, kept under wrongful confinement by army
Srinagar, Sep 25: In its report, the Jammu and Kashmir police have confirmed that Farooq Ahmad Dar, the man who was used as a human shield by the army during the bye-election to the Srinagar parliamentary constituency in April this year, had cast his vote before the "shocking" incident took place.
"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 report stated.
The report, which has come to light on Monday, was submitted by the Budgam district police to the state's director general of police in August.
The report added that Dar was picked up by the army "during stone pelting, and was tied to the bonnet of a vehicle as human shield under threat". "He was kept under wrongful confinement and was paraded/moved around in the area."
This is what the police report says in details:
"During investigation it came to surface that on 09.04.02017 during bye-poll elections various stone pelting incidents took place in the jurisdiction of Police Station, Beerwah and on the same day the said Farooq Ahmad Dar S/O Abdul Rahim R/O Chill accompanied by Hilal Ahmad Magray S/O Ghulam Mohammad R/O Chill (witness No. 01 above mentioned) proceeded to village Gampora for condolence and after spending some time there left from village Gampora and reached Ultigam crossing where from he was lifted by Army during stone pelting and was tied to bonnet of the Army vehicle as human shield under threat, kept him under wrongful confinement and has been paraded/moved around within the area.
Later on he was released. During investigation it came to surface that victim Farooq Ahmad Dar has cast his vote at polling booth installed in his native village i.e. Chill after casting vote he left alongwith Hilal Ahmad Magray for condolence to village Gampora, the investigation of the instant case is going on and after obtaining reports from District Election office Budgam/ Coy Commander 53 RR Camp Beerwah and analysing of video clips the investigation of the instant case will be concluded on its merits."
Dar, who was severely injured in the incident, told local reporters, "Why would I pelt stones when I had voted?" He added that the Election Commission (EC) could check whether he voted or not on April 9 Srinagar Lok Sabha bye-polls.
A video went viral on social media showing Dar tied to an army jeep with a note pinned to his chest that read, "This will be the fate of stone-pelters."
The resident of Chill village in Beerwah sub-district said he was caught by the army after he went to cast his vote in the Srinagar Lok Sabha bye-polls. He added, "I thrashed severely with gun butts and wooden sticks and in an almost unconscious state tied to the front of the jeep and paraded."
Major Leetul Gogoi of 53 Rashtriya Rifles, who took the decision to tie Dar to a jeep, alleged that the shawl weaver was instigating the crowd to pelt stones against the army jawans and was thus forced to use the man as a human shield to save civilians.
Major Gogoi was awarded the Army Chief's Commendation Card almost a month after the incident. Army chief Bipin Rawat too had defended Major Gogoi.
The commendation card for Major Gogoi was given for "sustained efforts" in counter insurgency operations, an army official said. However, Major Gogoi was not honoured for the human shield incident.