Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Rs.10 lakh compensation to human shield in Kashmir

 Farooq Ahmad Dar, the 26-year-old shawl artisan from Kashmir, tied to a jeep as a human shield

  • The use of human shields is considered a war crime by nations that are parties to the 1949 Geneva Conventions.
  •  "The court of inquiry regarding the April 9 incident is under finalisation. While awarding the officer, all factors, including notable performance of the officer and overall emerging indicators of the court of inquiry, have been well-considered" when the army chief honoured Major Nitin Leetul Gogoi. Gen. Bipin Rawat, the army chief, handed the commendation card to the major in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The announcement of the commendation suggests the government and the military are viewing the officer's treatment of the alleged stone-thrower as an exemplary gesture that helped defuse an explosive situation.
  • Dar, an embroidery artisan, had this question for the person who rewarded the major: "If his son faces a similar treatment at the hands of the officer, I would see whether he will still reward him."
  • Dar has challenged those who had claimed he was a stone-thrower to prove that he ever picked a stone and he iterates that he was among the few people who voted that day in the Srinagar Lok Sabha by-election.
  • H.S. Panag, a retired lieutenant general, said: "Whatever be the circumstances, the incident was contrary to army rules and regulations. The circumstances under which the award has been given to Major Gogoi is not clear. It is a wrong message being sent."

My View:
People in public positions must realize that country is not their fiefdom, to behave or act as they like to please their political masters. Their actions will be scrutinized by higher authorities, adjudicating authorities and courts. Human shields were used by Israeli's in Gaza and West bank and they were accused of huge violations of human rights. There are laws that prohibit this kind of treatment even for convicts. There was no just reason for parading the human shield for four hours but is aimed at terrorising stone pelters who are unfortunately our own citizens. Defence Minister Arun Jaitley backed the decision of the army men saying that the army was interested in saving lives and Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh writing in a column that Major Nitin Leetul Gogoi should be given a distinguished services’ medal, is a matter of shame. The greatness of great nations lies in holding their institutions to the highest possible standards of law, humanity and constitutional propriety. In fighting armed militancy or any form of internal conflict, the state cannot abdicate its responsibility to uphold the fundamental rights of its citizens by holding its army accountable. I don't think this is the only option for army to protect its soldiers. Rather it is their feeling they are in war with Kashmiri Muslims and they are its enemies. The compensation should have been at least Rs.50 lakhs and also subjecting erring Major for court marshaling for exceeding his brief.

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