Kashmir: The Chief Of Army Staff General Bipin Rawat has awarded Major Leetul Gogoi, the officer who placed a Kashmiri man on the bonnet of his jeep during recent protests in Kashmir, with a Chief of Army Staff Commendation Card. Sources in the army said, "Major Gogoi has been awarded COAS Commendation Card for sustained efforts in Counter-insurgency operations". These operations, they added, include the actions of the Major on April 9 during the Srinagar by-election, when a local -- later identified as Farooq Ahmad Dar -- was tied to the bonnet of an Army vehicle in Kashmir's Budgam.
- Major Leetul Gogoi awarded Army chief's commendation card
- Honour given for sustained efforts in counter-insurgency operations
- He had tied man to jeep to quell protests in Kashmir during by-polls
Army sources say the Major, belonging to the 53 Rashtriya Rifles, took an on-the-spot decision to tie Mr Dar to the vehicle as his soldiers were passing through an area where there was intense stone-throwing.
After Mr Dar was made to sit on the bonnet of the Army jeep, stone-throwing stopped and soldiers, the Central Armed Police Forces personnel and their vehicles were able to pass the area without any further incident.
On April 15, the Army formed a court of inquiry into the incident, the report of which is still awaited. According to Army sources, the Army chief has the authority to issue a Chief of Army Staff Commendation Card as he sees fit, irrespective of whether an inquiry report has been submitted. On Friday, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley backed the actions of the officer, saying he had the responsibility to save the lives of those involved in the by-election that day.
As the video of the incident sparked intense debate, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehboba Mufti asked for a detailed report from the state police and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said he would look into the incident. The Jammu and Kashmir police filed a First Information Report on April 15, following which the army formed a court of inquiry.
According to reports, Farooq Ahmad Dar was not a protestor but a passer-by.