SRINAGAR/NEW DELHI: Police have filed a case against the army over the incident, in which soldiers are accused of seizing a 24-year old shawl weaver on April 9, strapping him to the front of their vehicle and then parading him through villages.
A video of the episode circulated widely on social media, in a reminder for some of alleged human rights abuses perpetrated by Indian security forces as they struggle to contain a separatist movement that is now in its 28th year.
Farooq Ahmad Dar, a shawl weaver, was picked up by soldiers near the home of a relative house after voting in the by-election, he told media. “Look at the fate of the stone-pelter,” a soldier is saying over a loudspeaker, in the video.
The case was registered on April 13 on the basis of the video. The development was also confirmed by IoK police DIG Ghulam Hassan who spoke to the Hindustan Times.
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti in a message posted on social media said: “In the ‘human shield’ video case FIR No 38/17 U/S 342/149/506&367 RPC has been registered in Police Station Beerwah on 13/4/17. Investigation is being conducted by SDPO Magam. We shall ensure that investigations are taken to a logical conclusion so that action is taken.”
While Indian army spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Rajesh Kalia said the veracity of the video was being ascertained, adding, “Action will be taken against those found guilty of misconduct.”
Protests last week followed a botched by-election in which at least eight people were killed. Director general of police in the state on Sunday told officers to avoid visiting their own homes in South Kashmir after militants stormed at least four officers’ houses.
Indian Army forces Kashmiris to chant anti-Pakistan slogans
Over the weekend two more videos circulated on social media showing workers of the ruling political party in the IoK renouncing mainstream politics, one of them beside a man wielding a gun.
Another horrific video of Indian forces’ torture on Kashmiri youth has surfaced in which forces are seen torturing students of a government college in Pulwama, IoK to make them chant anti-Pakistan slogans.
“This is a phenomenon that has been going on for the last 27 years,” Khurram Parvez, a leading Kashmiri human rights activist jailed last year, told Reuters.
“This is not the first human shield case. What is different now is that this case has been documented, thanks to social media.”The treatment of Dar was “unlawful and unacceptable,” rights group Amnesty International said in a statement.
Kashmir has been a disputed region between Pakistan and India since independence from Britain in 1947. Two of three wars have been fought over the valley. IoK witnessed deadly protests in 2016, after a popular leader, Burhan Wani, was killed by Indian forces. Last September, tension escalated when at least 19 Indian soldiers were killed in an assault on an army camp in Kashmir, an attack India blamed on Pakistan-based militants.