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Major who tied Kashmiri civilian to jeep given clean chit, Army brass believes he saved lives

Author: Kamaljit Kaur Sandhu
Publication: India Today
Date: May 15, 2017
URL:    http://m.indiatoday.in/story/major-who-tied-kashmiri-civilian-to-jeep-given-clean-chit/1/953946.html

Major Nitin Gogoi who raised a huge controversy after tying a civilian to an Army jeep has been given a clean cheat by a court of inquiry convened over the issue.

The court of inquiry (CoI) convened by the Army in Jammu Kashmir has given a clean chit to a Major who tied a civilian to an Army jeep's bonnet.

Following furore, the Army had convened a CoI on April 15, two days after an FIR was filed by J&K Police into the incident, allegedly involving a Major from 53 Rashtriya Rifles.

No action has been recommended against the Major. A source said, "Court martial is out of the question. Not even disciplinary action was recommended against the officer."

Sources say the five-vehicle convoy led by the Major had soldiers, 12 poll officials, nine ITBP men and two policemen. The major had reportedly come up with the idea to escape stone-pelting mobs during the by-election to Srinagar. Separatists and militant groups had asked youths to disrupt the elections.

BRASS BELIEVES HE SAVED LIVES

Highly placed sources say that the inquiry has given a clean chit to the major in question - Nitin Gogoi. A source told MAIL TODAY that contrary to the hue and cry generated by the clipping on social media, senior army officers had appreciated the presence of mind of the officer to avoid casualties or injuries.

The source said, "He was congratulated for his acumen and presence of mind that saved many lives."

Senior Army officers are reportedly of the view that it was 'one-off incident that was blown out of proportion'. Another source said, "In the Army, attaining the objective is more important. The means used by the officer could have been different, but the objective was perfectly met."

Sources said the officer is of an ACC background. The Army Cadet College wing trains soldiers from the regular Army, Navy and Air Force for commission as officers in the Indian Army.

The officer has risen from the ranks, and is said to have close to a decade experience. The April 9 incident, which occurred in Budgam, involved troops from 53 Rashtriya Rifles who tied up one Farooq Ahmad Dar on their jeep's bonnet as a 'human shield'.

'NOT A STONE-PELTER'

Though Army sources said Dar was a stone-pelter, the latter said he was returning home after casting his vote when jawans picked him up.

The jeep, the video showed, was the leading vehicle of a convoy. Omar Abdullah tweeted the visuals demanding a CoI.

Sources said the CoI was headed by an officer of the rank of Colonel. The CoI was a fact-finding mission where the Army had also called Dar to record his statement.

Dar, who claimed that he had gone out to vote, had told before the media that he received internal injuries. He claimed he was not a stone-pelter. However, after he was tied to the jeep, the convoy was able to pass safely.
 
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