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Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu on Monday flatly rejected the Jammu and Kashmir human rights panel’s directive to the state government to provide a compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the local Kashmiri who was used as a human shield by the Army in their bid to fend off stone pelters during a by-poll in the state. He argued that there was no question of giving compensation to ‘stone pelters’. “I do not agree with them. Pelting stones is inhuman, hurting army personnel is also inhuman. I do not know how this order has been given. We are not in agreement with their attitude,” Naidu said.
The Union Minister also threw his weight behind Major Leetul Gogoi, who tied the civilian to the bonnet of the vehicle and paraded him through 19 different villages of district Budgam on April 9. Naidu said the officer had saved the lives of Election Commission officials and police personnel, and the entire country “appreciates” what he had done.
Army chief General Bipin Rawat had appreciated Gogoi’s act and also awarded him with a commendation medal for his sustained efforts in counter-insurgency operations. A video of the incident had triggered a row on social media with many human rights activists, Kashmiri groups, and a few retired army generals condemning it.
“There is no question of giving compensation to people who pelt stones. I have no sympathies for such people,” the Minister for Information and Broadcasting said, adding that stone pelting is being done at the behest of “people from outside”.
Earlier in the day, the Jammu and Kashmir human rights commission had directed the state government to pay Rs 10 lakh compensation to Farooq Ahmad Dar. “The report of the police accepts that Farooq Ahmad Dar … was tied to bonnet of a vehicle and used as human shield… There are laws in this country and international laws which prohibit such a treatment even to a convict. Such a treatment to human being cannot be accepted in a civilized society,” said Justice (Retd) Bilal Nazki in his judgement. Nazki is the chairperson of the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC).
“The protection of life and liberty of the people is basic responsibility of the state government. The Commission thinks it appropriate to direct the state government to pay compensation of Rs 10 lakhs to the victim,” Justice Nazki added.
The SHRC judgement also observed that the compensation was awarded to Dar for the “humiliation, physical and psychiatric torture, stress, wrongful restraint and confinement” that he underwent when he was tied to the jeep.
With PTI inputs