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Major Leetul Gogoi who used Kashmiri stone-pelter as human shield honoured by Indian Army
The Indian Army officer who had tied up a Kashmiri man to his jeep's bonnet to keep stone-pelters at bay has been awarded the Army Chief's Commendation Card for 'sustained efforts' in counter-insurgency operations.

Major Leetul Gogoi has been in the eye of the storm ever since the incident came at the forefront and the images of the hapless Kashmiri man tied to the jeep's bonnet had gone viral over the internet.

The honour extended to Major Gogoi of the 53 Rashtriya Rifles despite a Court of Inquiry (CoI) pending into the incident is being looked at as the Indian Army's backing of the officer's action. The award was reportedly presented to Gogoi by Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat last week during his visit to Jammu & Kashmir.

Colonel Aman Anand, Army spokesperson, on Monday said, "Major Gogoi has been awarded the Chief of Army Staff's Commendation Card for his sustained efforts in counter-insurgency operations."

A viral video of the man tied to the Army vehicle during Srinagar Lok Sabha by-election on April 9 in Budgam district, had raked up a controversy and led to an outcry especially from human rights activists and separatists.

The award extended to Gogoi is just below the gallantry medals, and is sort of a declaration of intent by the Indian government and the Army about their refusal to any longer deal with the worsening law & order situation in the Valley with kid gloves, even if it means violating the Geneva Convention.

The government of India firmly believes that stone-pelters who openly disrupt counter-insurgency operations of the Indian Army can no longer be allowed to dictate terms.

In the meanwhile, in another development, Farooq Dar, the man in the middle of the controversy, as he was the one who had been tied to the jeep has raised questions over Gogoi's action. Dar is a weaver from Chill village of central Kashmir's Budgam district.

In a resentful mood, Dar was quoted by HT as saying, "If it was legal under any law, what can I possibly say. I can't pick up a stick and go and fight with those honouring the officer."

Dar further questioned, "I want to ask only one thing, was I an animal that I was tied and exhibited? Kya main koi bhains ya bail tha? (Was I a buffalo or a bull?)."

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