The man who was seen tied to an army jeep on polling day has been identified as Farooq Dar, while the army unit involved in the act was 53 Rashtriya Rifles.
Officials investigating the matter on the instructions of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, said Dar is a resident of Sitaharaan village in Khag tehsil of Budgam in central Kashmir.
The video, in which a man was seen tied to an army jeep, allegedly as a human shield against stone-pelting, and which had gone viral on social media, had created an outrage in the Valley, forcing the authorities and the army to investigate the matter.
During investigation, Dar said he was out to cast his vote and later visit his sister's house, where a bereavement had taken place, to offer condolences.
Dar told investigators that after exercising his right to vote, he was proceeding towards his sister's village when he was caught by the army personnel who wanted to enter Beerwah village along with the polling staff, the officials said.
Dar was tied to a jeep as the army moved into the village, along with a convoy of jawans and some polling staff, they said. The civilian claimed that he was released after he was paraded in 10 to 12 villages, the officials said.
Sources in the army, which has promised an enquiry, claimed that Dar was picked up from a "trouble spot", and was tied up for barely 100 metres before being released.
The Indian Army had earlier launched an investigation into the origin and contents of a shocking video that shows the forces using a human shield while passing through Gundipora village in Kashmir’s Budgam district.
Violence marred the polling for Srinagar’s Lok Sabha seat in Budgam and led to eight deaths on 9 April.
The video and photos shared by former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah sparked outrage online.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh said, “We will look into the issue of a video shot in Kashmir that has gone viral.”
Alerted by journalists on Twitter, the Indian Army’s Srinagar-based Chinar Corps launched an investigation to look into the contents of the video.
A few videos surfaced on social media sites on Friday, a day after internet services were restored in the Kashmir Valley.
Commenting on the video, Wasim Dar, a Kashmiri youth, posted on Twitter:
Another Twitter handle said the army’s actions were “dehumanising a whole population to cultivate total submission”.
However, some twitter users defended the Army’s act and said it helped to avoid the stone pelting.
A Hindustan Times journalist quoting sources said that the call (of mounting the youth on the jeep) was taken by a major, who decided “not to open fire and unleash bloodbath”.
It was do or die, major who volunteered to serve in Kashmir took the call, deciding not to open fire and unleash bloodbath. @htTweets (4)— Rahul Singh (@rahulsinghx) April 14, 2017
Incident happnd in 53 RR's area of responsibility, stone attack sent things spinning out of control. Army probing viral video. @htTweets (3)— Rahul Singh (@rahulsinghx) April 14, 2017
Security, poll officials came under heavy stoning with locals, incl women, in Budgam area, attacking the convoy from rooftops. @htTweets (2)— Rahul Singh (@rahulsinghx) April 14, 2017
Jeep row: Sources say five-vehicle convoy led by a major in Rakshak had few soldiers, 12 poll officials, 9 ITBP men, 2 cops. @htTweets (1)— Rahul Singh (@rahulsinghx) April 14, 2017
Omar’s Failure to Check Stone-Pelting in 2010 Led to Current Situation
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Friday said the “failure” of the previous Omar Abdullah government to deal with the issue of stone-pelting had led to the unrest in 2016, as well as the current situation in the Valley.
Her remarks came as a response to National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah, who on Thursday said the Mufti government was “financing stone-pelting”.
“There was no measures taken with regard to the youth, who took to the streets to hurl stones (in 2010). What steps were taken at that time to check stone-pelting? No treatment was done... It churned lava (in the youth), which exploded suddenly last year, and till now, we have not been able to stop this,” Mehbooba said.
(With inputs from PTI.)
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