Reacting to Major Nitin Leetul Gogoi tying a man to the jeep to deter stone-pelters in Kashmir, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley in an interview to Times Now today said that the military officer had a duty to rescue the election officials and other securitymen and all the options available to him were far worse. Jaitley said that he used the best one which did not cost lives. Union Minister Jaitley added, “We will not compromise with the terrorists and the separatists. How else should a military official deal with such a situation? He used his discretion towards national benefit.” Defending the major further, Jaitley said, “These are not actions that are derived by politics; ultimately, he did not harm the man (Farooq Dar)”. He used the man to control the situation and then let him go, Defence Minister said.
The Defence Minister said that the lives of Election Commission officers were in danger and there were hundreds of stone pelters around. At that moment, Major Gogoi had very few other options, Jaitley said. He could have opened fire that would have resulted in the death of many people or he could have opened fire in the air, causing a stampede, the Defence Minister added. Instead, Major Gogoi did what he did at his own discretion; he thought the man was a stone pelter and hence used him to protect the officials and at the end of it, left him unharmed.
The Defence Minister also spoke about the political and media criticism and said that these things cannot possibly decide a military strategy or policy. Defending Major Gogoi’s tactics in the hostile environment, he said that the Major, instead of using the standard protocol used an alternative approach and it turned out to be the most benign move that saved lives.