Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday responded to the human shield controversy in Kashmir which has been making waves over the last few weeks. “Some answers can’t be given in yes or no,” the Home Minister said at a press conference in New Delhi while presenting the report card of the Narendra Modi-led government.
“We have concrete strategy for permanent solution in Kashmir,” Singh said while adding that the government would solve the Kashmir issue by “taking people into confidence.” “We will remove all obstructions in the way to bring peace in Kashmir. We are ready to talk to everyone within the framework of constitution,” Singh said to the reporters.
During the Srinagar parliamentary seat bypoll election in April, Army Major Leetul Gogoi had tied a Budgam resident Farooq Ahmad Dar to an army jeep and allegedly used him as a shield against stone-pelters in the Valley. The Army had ordered a probe into the incident after a video of the incident surfaced on social media triggering public outcry.
Army Chief General Bipin Rawat later rewarded Major Gogoi with the commendation medal and said that in order to counter the “dirty war” in Kashmir, army men had to come up with “innovative ways.” Pointing out that Major Gogoi could have opted for open firing but chose not to, he added that the armed forces have the right to self-defence.
“People are throwing stones at us, people are throwing petrol bombs at us. If my men ask me what do we do, should I say, just wait and die? I will come with a nice coffin with a national flag and I will send your bodies home with honour. Is it what I am supposed to tell them as chief? I have to maintain the morale of my troops who are operating there,” Gen Rawat said.
Acting on a complaint by a Bhubaneswar-based activist, National Human Rights Commission sought a report from the defence ministry seeking explanation on the action taken against the act. “It is requested that an action taken report be sent to the commission within four weeks of the receipt of this letter,” read the NHRC communication sent to the Secretary, Ministry of Defence as per PTI.