Armed forces

J&K Government Refuses Compensation to Farooq Ahmed Dar, Civilian Used as Human Shield

Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission had directed the state government in July to give Rs 10 lakh compensation for torture to Dar.

Farooq Ahmad Dar while he was used as a human shield by the army. Credit: Video screengrab

Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir government has declined to give Rs 10 lakh compensation to Farooq Ahmed Dar, the human shield tied to an Indian Army jeep and taken around the Srinagar parliamentary constituency during the bypoll on April 9 this year.

Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission chairperson Justice Bilal Nazki had directed the state government in July to give the compensation amount to Dar.

There was “no scheme or policy in vogue in the state, which could cover the payment of compensation” in such matters, the state government said in its reply to the human rights panel recently.

The statement argued that an FIR was filed and compensation would tantamount to establishing the guilt of the accused without affording him the opportunity to be heard. In the four-page reply, filed through Deputy Secretary (Home) Mushtaq Ahmed, the state government said the empowered committee of the government had examined the order of the rights panel and observed that the grounds on which compensation was recommended “cannot be accepted”.

The state government, it said, had discharged its obligation by registering an FIR in the matter in the Beerwah police station and consequently initiating the investigation.

“That pending completion of the investigation in the matter, the recommendation with regard to payment of compensation to the complainant (Dar), shall tantamount to establish the guilt of the accused without affording him an opportunity of being heard,” the reply accessed by PTI said.

The response will be placed before Nazki on November 13.

While asking the government to give Rs 10 lakh compensation to Nazki, the rights panel in its July 10 order had refused to direct the army in the case, saying it did not have jurisdiction over the force.

Dar was tied to the bonnet of an army vehicle and taken around 19 villages in Budgam during the Lok Sabha bypoll in April, purportedly as a shield against stone pelters. A video grab showed the youth tied to an army vehicle, eliciting sharp reactions from civil society. However, the army backed Major Leetul Gogoi, who had tied Dar, and honoured with him with the army chief’s ‘Commendation Card’ for his ‘sustained efforts’ in counter-insurgency operations.

He said he took the step to save local people. The army’s claims that Dar was among the stone pelters was not substantiated by local police officials, who established Dar’s statement that he was on his way to another village to for offering condolences. Dar’s statement that he was taken hostage after he cast his ballot was verified by the district election officer.