J&K govt refuses to pay any compensation to the stone-pelter who was tied to an Army jeep

In April, Major Gogoi of the Indian army became famous after he came up with a novel idea to tie a stone pelter to his jeep’s bonnet in order to escape an attack by hundreds of stone pelters, while he was returning after rescuing poll officials in Budgam, Kashmir.

As per Major Gogoi, he and his troops faced a mob of about 1200 protesters which not only threw stones but also attacked them with petrol bombs. Thus tying one stone pelter named Farooq Dar on the jeep meant that the mob became weary of stone pelting and Major Gogoi’s cavalcade could escape from that area.

While this was hailed as a stroke of genius by many, various so called activists and liberals soon started opposing this move, which they called was a gross human rights violation by the army. Among those opposing was senior Congress leader Saifuddin Soz who outright demanded that Major Gogoi be punished for his actions.

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The Indian Army though recognised Major Gogoi’s sustained efforts in counter insurgency operations and awarded him the Army Chief Commendation Card. Even the Modi government backed the Major in this regard by referring to him as a brave officer who saved the life of polling officers.

But that wasn’t the end of the story and reports claimed that the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) directed the Jammu & Kashmir government to pay a Rs 10 lakh monetary compensation to him. As per the panel, the stone pelter was subjected to torture, humiliation apart from being wrongly confined.

Now reports have emerged which claim that the J&K government has rejected the SHRC’s recommendation and has refused to pay any compensation to the stone pelter. The government refused this recommendation via a note on 27th October but its details emerged only on Monday.

In the reply to the SHRC, the government made a four point rebuttal:

  • No allegations with regards to the human rights violation had been made against the state government or its functionary
  • The payment of compensation would establish the guilt of the accused (Major Gogoi), without giving him an opportunity to be heard
  • There is no scheme or policy in place which can cover the payment of compensation in cases like this
  • The SHRC has itself observed that it cannot judge the conduct of the army, hence it lacks jurisdiction to entertain and adjudicate upon the present matter

Dilshad Ahmad Baba, the secretary of the SHRC confirmed receiving the Home Ministry’s reply but refused to comment on it. The stone pelter Farooq Dar has predictably become anguished at not getting this compensation and has now started protesting against the same.

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