Military solutions to be given by military officers: Arun Jaitley

Military solutions to be given by military officers: Arun Jaitley

On April 9, a video showing the man tied to the army vehicle during polling in the Srinagar Lok Sabha by-election had triggered a huge outcry.

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Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. (File Photo)

Referring to the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, a day after the Army went public on fire assaults on Pakistani
posts along the LoC, Union Defence Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday said, “Military solutions to be provided by military officers, how to handle a situation must be left to them.” Jaitley was briefing the media after the Union Cabinet meeting today. “They don’t have to consult members of Parliament as to what they should do under such circumstances,” he added.

The Indian Army on Tuesday said it launched “punitive fire assaults” on Pakistani positions across the Line of Control (LoC), inflicting “some damage”, days after two of its troopers were beheaded. It had also released a video of the military action under the impact of repeated shelling.

The defence minister was also implicitly referring to the latest row over Indian Army’s Major Gogoi being awarded a commendation card by the Chief of Army Staff for his efforts in counter-insurgency operations. Major Gogoi came under spotlight for an incident in Jammu and Kashmir’s Budgam where he is alleged to have ordered to tie a Kashmiri man on the hood of a jeep as a human shield against stone-pelters.

Although the action received both acclaim and criticism in good measure, the Army stood by its officer and recognised the way he handled the situation to save his group of soldiers. The Indian Express had reported earlier today attributing sources that the COAS Commendation Cards are routinely announced on August 15 and January 26. “But in some cases, these are awarded ‘on the spot’, at the discretion of the Army Chief,” sources told the Indian Express. “In the last two months, the Army Chief has given 15-20 ‘on the spot’ commendation cards. The Army headquarters then notifies them as soon as possible,” added sources.


Meanwhile, defending his own action at that point in time, Major Gogoi had told a group of reporters that he “saved many peoples’ lives” because “had I fired, there would have been casualties… there were women and children in the crowd”. Speaking to the media at Beerwah in Budgam district of J&K, Gogoi said that “around 1200 people had surrounded” security personnel and polling staff at a polling booth in Utligam on April 9 morning and were “trying to burn down the polling station by hurling petrol bombs”.

He also said “suddenly, in my mind, the idea of tying him (Dar) to the vehicle came… I ordered my boys to tie him to the vehicle. Seeing this, the stone-pelting stopped for a while. At that fraction of moment, I got a window to come out safely from that place. I told my boys to get inside the vehicles and move out of the area.”

While Major Gogoi defended his action, many opposition leaders didn’t buy the argument with NC leader Omar Abdullah saying in a tweet, “Please don’t bother with the farce of a military court of inquiry.”

On April 9, a video showing the man tied to the army vehicle during polling in the Srinagar Lok Sabha by-election had triggered a huge outcry, which prompted the Army to institute a probe and the police to register a case against the officer.