Human Shield Row: NHRC Seeks Report From Defence Min

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New Delhi:  Taking cognisance of a complaint alleging rights violation in the ‘human shield’ incident involving the Army in Jammu and Kashmir, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has sought a report from the Defence Ministry seeking details of the action taken on it.

The complaint was filed by a Bhubaneswar-based activist, who alleged that the Army had violated the law by tying a man to a jeep and using him as a “human shield” against stone-pelting in Budgam district of Jammu and Kashmir in April. The complainant, Akhand of the Civil Society Forum on Human Rights, said he had approached the NHRC around mid-April and submitted a letter to it in connection with the incident.

Subsequently, senior Congress leader Saifuddin Soz too had urged the commission to take cognisance of the incident, sources said.

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As per the NHRC case details, the commission had last month ordered to send a copy of the complaint to the authorities concerned and sought an action taken report from them within four weeks.

“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.

Since the complaint filed by Soz was related to the same case, “the Congress leader has been informed that cognisance has already been taken by the NHRC, and that he can keep track of the case”, a source said.

Major Leetul Gogoi had tied Farooq Ahmad Dar, a resident of Budgam, to a jeep and allegedly used him as a shield against stone-pelters in the Valley.

A video showing Dar tied to an Army vehicle on April 9, the day the by-election to the Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency was held, had triggered a public outcry, prompting the Army to institute a probe. The incident has been criticised by human rights activists, Kashmiri groups as also a few retired Army generals.