Human Shield Controversy Honour or Shame ?

News Kashmir Desk

In an controversial move Indian Army’s Major Nitin Leetul Gogi was recently awarded with the Chief of Army Staff’s commendation card for his efforts during law and order situation . Major Gogoi came under limelight for an incident in Budgam, Kashmir  where he is said  to have ordered to tie a Kashmiri man on the hood of a jeep as a shield against stone.

Rage and anger has been witnessed in many a voices against the awarding of the said Army official, especially in the turbulent valley of Kashmir. The election day had seen lot of violence with scores of killings, injuries and arrests with poor turnout.  It is this image of human shield which brought the real storm.

Although some right wing and ultra nationalists have praised the award to Major Gogoi many a sane voices have criticized the Army for awarding Major Nitin Leetul Gogoi with the Army Chief’s Commendation Card.

Kashmiri eminent voices are openly expressing their aghast .Mir Imran, Human Rights Defender stated – “Taking human shield is first of all brazen violations of all international treaties and conventions, now rubbing immense salt to wounds the award of such army official who resorted  to taking Human shield is slap on all democratic norms .This will further create alienation in Kashmir and make Kashmiris feel an enemy nation, this is just unpleasant move. Those Who violate rights of Kashmiris are awarded by Indian state is message going to common Kashmiri on ground. This is humiliation of entire masses at the cost of a very self negative action taken by the said army officer With this move the anger against Indian state will touch sky heights in Kashmir .”

As a matter of fact, the former General Officer Commanding-in-Chief Northern Command, Lt Gen (Rtd) Harcharanjit Singh Panag expressed disappointment over Army’s decision to award Major Gogoi. “IA traditions, ethos, rules & regs swept away by the “mood of the nation”! I stand by my views even if I am the last man standing!,” the  retired army commander wrote on the micro-blogging site twitter soon after news about awarding Gogoi broke.

On the otherhand, diplomat and strategic affairs expert, Krishnan Chander Singh seconded Panag and assured him that he is not alone. “You ain’t alone. Good folks remain silent. Human shields can’t be used by army of a civilized nation,” Singh tweeted.

Eminent journalist and Associate Editor CatchNews, Adiyta Menon, termed the decision of awarding the Major as losing of moral rights.  “With Army honouring Major Gogoi who used Kashmiri voter as human shield, we’ve lost moral right to criticize boycotts or lament low turnout,” he tweeted.

Undoubtedly this human shield controversy will dominate the discourse on Kashmir for years to come.