Kashmir has remained on a knife-edge after a video surfaced earlier last week showing a man being tied to an army jeep as a shield against stone-pelters during polling for the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat.
The video has triggered a public outcry in the Valley, prompting the civil and army authorities to launch separate investigations.
Speaking to CNN-News18 on the issue, India’s Attorney General Mukul Rohtagi defended the Army’s move to use a civilian as a human shield. Basing his argument on the difficult circumstances in the Valley, he added that the Major responsible for the decision didn't do anything wrong because his decision “saved the lives of a lot of people there”.
Mukul Rohtagi, Attorney General, IndiaIt was one of those spur-of-the-moment decisions... If an Army major got away without hurting anybody, it’s a great job... There was nothing wrong, considering the circumstances.
He also defended the Armed Forces Special Powers Act which gives sweeping powers to the security forces deployed in the Valley.
These are disturbing times and AFSPA can stay in Jammu and Kashmir for now.
Using Human Shield Against Norms of Democracy: Ex-Army Chief
Former Army Chief Retired General Bikram Singh also downplayed the incident, claiming it to be an “aberration” rather than a norm which will be “taken care of”. In the interview to CNN-News18 he said the move was a one-off as the Indian Army is a highly “disciplined force that follows the rulebook”.
He added that many of the videos doing the rounds on social media are doctored to show the Army in a poor light in the “dirty war” playing out in the Valley.
The retired General spoke of the “tremendous pressure” on the jawans posted in the Valley but added that he personally doesn’t endorse Army personnel resorting to using such tactics as they “go against the norms of democracy” and cannot be accepted in a democratic nation.