Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, the government's chief legal advisor, has asked why there is "so much noise" over armymen tying a man in Kashmir to the front of a military jeep as a "human shield" against protesters throwing stones at the vehicle.
"The recent report about a stone pelter tied to an Army vehicle, it helped contain stone pelters and saved the poll officials. Why so much noise," Mr Rohatgi said to NDTV today, adding, "Everyday people are dying. It's a surcharged atmosphere. The Army is dealing with terrorists not with protestors, so they will have to be dealt with...everyone should look at the Army with pride, they are doing a great job."
Stressing that the army's is doing a great job under hostile conditions, the Attorney General said, "Sitting in AC rooms you can't criticise army. Please put yourself in army position."
The Jammu and Kashmir police have filed a First Information Report or FIR against the Army for the incident after a video went viral, drawing huge criticism. Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti sought a detailed report from the state police and the Army too began an internal investigation into the incident. Home Minister Rajnath Singh has said he will look into it.
In the video, which sources said was filmed on April 9, the young man sits tied with a rope to the front of the jeep as it drove into a village. By-elections were held that day for the Srinagar parliament seat amid a poll boycott call by separatists and mobs attacked polling booths stamping on and burning electronic voting machines or EVMs in many places. Security sources have said that the vehicle had in it poll officials who faced a mob of angry stone-throwers. They said the man tied to the jeep, identified as Farooq Ahmad Dar, was not harmed.
Police sources have said the charges being considered against the Army include kidnapping and endangering Mr Dar's life.
Mr Dar is a resident of Sitaharaan village in Khag tehsil of Budgam district in central Kashmir. He has alleged that he was picked up when he was on the way to his sister's house, where a relative had died, after voting.
He said a 53 Rashtriya Rifles contingent picked him up as it wanted to enter Beerwah village with the polling staff.
An earlier video that too went viral showed a mob kicking and slapping a jawan of the Central Reserve Police Force or CRPF, but he kept walking without reacting to any provocation. Five persons were arrested for the incident.