Used as human shield in 2017, Farooq Ahmed Dar now on poll dutyhttps://indianexpress.com/elections/kashmiri-man-farooq-ahmed-dar-human-shield-on-poll-duty-lok-sabha-elections-5682836/

Used as human shield in 2017, Farooq Ahmed Dar now on poll duty

"Farooq Ahmad Dar is working on consolidated terms as sweeper in the Health Department. He has been posted on election duty," Budgam Chief Medical Officer Nazir Ahmad told PTI.

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The incident invoked sharp but divided reactions as visuals of Dar tied to the bonnet of an army jeep was flashed on TV screens.

Two years after Farooq Ahmed Dar was used as a ‘human shield’ to ensure safe passage for army jawans as they came under intense stone-pelting, the Kashmiri man is now posted on election duty at Utligam polling station in Budgam. The ‘human shield’ incident took place on April 9, 2017, when Srinagar voted in a Lok Sabha bypoll.

“Farooq Ahmad Dar is working on consolidated terms as a sweeper in the Health Department. He has been posted on election duty,” Budgam Chief Medical Officer Nazir Ahmad was quoted as saying by PTI.

The incident had invoked sharp reactions as visuals of Dar tied to the bonnet of an army jeep was flashed on TV screens. The picture also splashed across the front pages of newspapers across the country.

Investigations later found that Dra was on his way to his sister’s place for condolence meet after casting his vote in the bypoll on April 9 2017, when the army picked him up and tied him with ropes, parading him through nearly 28 villages.

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Farooq Ahmed Dar (right) with his mother at their home in Chil, Budgam. (Express Photo by Shuaib Masoodi/File)

“What was my mistake? Going to the polling booth and casting my ballot?” Dar had told the news agency in a video interview last year.

The incident is still fresh in the minds of the locals of this village, nearly 40 kms from the Srinagar city, where Dar was tied to the army jeep.

The residents allege the stone-pelting was in response to the “unprovoked harassment” of the locals by the army officer and the “vandalism” by the troops.

Major Gogoi was at the centre of a major controversy after he tied Dar to the front of his military jeep. Despite strong public outrage on Major Gogoi’s action, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat had awarded him the COAS commendation card for the act.

However, the officer was punished by the army with loss of seniority of six months after he was found with a local girl in a Srinagar hotel in May 2018.

-With PTI inputs