Major Nitin Leetul Gogoi of the Rashtriya Rifles 53rd battalion, who courted a nation-wide controversy with the April 2017 ‘human shield’ incident, was briefly detained by police in Srinagar on Wednesday, 23 May.
Gogoi, who is posted in Budgam district, was picked up from a hotel after residents alleged he was seen in a “compromising position” with a young woman.
Well-placed sources said that Gogoi, his driver Sameer, and a 19-year-old Kashmiri woman were picked up from the Grand Mamta Hotel in the Dalgate area at around 11 am on 23 May after a group of men objected to the presence of an Army officer with a young woman in the hotel.
Senior Superintendent of Police, Srinagar, Imtiyaz Ismail Parray, told The Quint that the police rushed to the spot after it received the call and the statements of all three were recorded.
"The woman stated that she was a friend of Sameer’s and that he was going to meet Gogoi along with her." - SSP, Srinagar, Imtiyaz Ismail Parray
Sources said a room in the name of Leetul Gogoi of Assam had been booked at the Grand Mamta.
Sources said the police were checking the call detail records of Major Gogoi, Sameer and the woman. They said that the Srinagar District Police was drafting a letter to the Army, raising questions over the serving officer’s movement and his stay in a private hospital, which was in no way part of his duty.
IGP Kashmir Swayam Prakash Pani, did not respond to phone calls when contacted by The Quint.
As per a statement issued by the police, an altercation broke out between the three and the staff of the Hotel Grand Mamta. Major Gogoi, Sameer, and the woman were driven to Khanyar Police Station.
A witness said the Army officer had been chased by the men, believed to be from Kawoosa area of Budgam district, and that the hotel staff called the police for fear that Gogoi could be attacked.
“IGP Kashmir has ordered a detailed enquiry into this matter which will be held by Superintendent of Police (City), North. As of now, it doesn’t constitute a crime but we are investigating. If a crime is established, we will definitely file an FIR”, SSP Parray said.
Major Gogoi made headlines in April 2017 when he tied Farooq Ahmed Dar, a Kashmiri shawl-weaver, to the front of his jeep in Budgam, calling it a against stone-pelters.
At the time, the Army had defended Major Gogoi’s action, claiming that he had done this act in “good faith” to save lives of many soldiers and polling staff from violent crowds of stone-pelters in Utligam village of Beerwah.
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