SRINAGAR: A police inquiry interim report says Farooq Ahmad Dar was subjected to “wrongful confinement”. Dar, who was tied to an army jeep and paraded during the violence-hit April 9 by-polls in Srinagar, had cast his vote before he was used as a “human shield”, a police report confirmed.
The 2 page police report states, “During the investigation, it came to surface that Mr. Dar cast his vote at a polling booth in his native village of Chill. After casting his vote he, along with Hilal Ahmad Magrey, left for a condolence meeting to Gampora,” and was “picked up by the army during stone pelting and tied to the bonnet of a vehicle as human shield under threat”. It also says he was “kept under wrongful confinement” and was paraded before he was released.
The army is yet to comment on the report. Dar, a Kashmiri shawl maker had preserved his voting slip.
“I am happy today, for six months I was saying that I cast my vote and today my stand has been vindicated, I want that justice must be done,” Dar told NDTV.
Condemned over the images of Dar as a human shield – widely circulated on social media – the army had said that its move saved a dozen lives.
Major Gogoi, the officer who decided to tie Dar to a jeep had accused Dar of instigating a stone throwing mob and had alleged that he could have been their ring leader. The police report counters that version.
In May, Gogoi was given a commendation card by the Army for his efforts in counter-insurgency operations and initiative to prevent bloodshed in the Valley.
Only 7.1% of registered voters in Srinagar had turned up at the booths to vote during the bye-poll. In Budgam district, Dar was among only 31,476 people who voted, braving a separatist boycott call and the threat of violence.
Dar told NDTV: “They were saying that I am a stone pelter, but now today it has been proved than I am not a stone-pelter, I am an Indian, but they still they tied me to the vehicle and they don’t trust me.”
Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah tweeted: “Farooq Dar has been damned by the people who wanted the election boycotted and he’s been damned by the establishment that wanted people to vote.”
Farooq Dar has been damned by the people who wanted the election boycotted &he’s been damned by the establishment that wanted people to vote https://t.co/CCnGf6Mo4V
— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) September 25, 2017