The Indian Army’s decision to award Major Leetul Gogoi, who had tied a man to a jeep in Kashmir purportedly as a shield against stone pelters, shows “disdain” for human rights, the Amnesty International said today. Amnesty India’s executive director Aakar Patel said rewarding an officer who was facing a probe for human rights violation suggests that the army was willing to “valorise an act of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment amounting to torture.”
The army maintains that the officer was awarded for his sustained efforts in counter-insurgency operations and that the court of inquiry (CoI) into the incident, which had taken place during polling in the Srinagar Lok Sabha by-election on April 9, was “under finalisation”.
“This decision sends the disturbing message to security force personnel and people in Jammu and Kashmir that the human rights of Kashmiris can be casually ignored without fear of punishment. The disregard for the rights of Farooq Dar flies in the face of the commitments made by India recently at the UN Human Rights Council,” Patel said in a statement.
Dar was picked up by the Major after he had gone to vote, defying calls from militant groups to boycott the bypoll.