Rights

BJP Leader Selling Kashmir Human Shield T-Shirt Says There's No Stopping Sales

"Dar can file 100 more cases, but we will not stop selling Major Gogoi T-shirt," BJP spokesperson Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga said.

New Delhi: In April 2017, when an innocent Kashmiri voter was forcibly used as a human shield by Major Nitin Leetul Gogoi of the 53rd Rashtriya Rifles to deter stone-pelters and teach them a lesson, the world sat up and took notice.

But several people even lauded the Major for his act – defence minister Arun Jaitley had then said that in such war zones, the soldier must be allowed to act as he sees fit. Twitter was divided on whether this was a cruel tragedy or whether the major was right in using such a method to prevent any pelting incidents on the day the Lok Sabha elections were being held in Srinagar.

In fact, as Rising Kashmir reported last year, the incident has made its way onto T-shirts that are being sold for Rs 495 on online business outlet T-Shirt Bhaiya (tshirtbhaiya.com) which was launched by Delhi BJP spokesperson Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga.

Screenshot of the page selling the T-shirt.

The incident had caused great embarrassment to the Indian army at the time as people debated the ethical and legal angle of Farooq Ahmad Dar being tied to a bonnet with a white paper glued to his chest declaring him to be a stone pelter and being paraded around various villages.

Dar has filed a defamation suit against Bagga, something his lawyer had threatened to do last year. But the BJP spokesperson took to Twitter to declare that there’s no stopping him from selling “stone pelter guy” T-shirts.

Bagga, while defending his selling such a T-shirt for profit, also stated that he is merely “wearing one’s patriotism on one’s chest”. Talking to the Indian media, he said that the shirt was a message to the Kashmiris who are fighting for freedom.

What’s more, the portal had also taken to Twitter last year to dedicate the T-shirt to Major Gogoi, reported Rising Kashmir. That tweet appears to have since been deleted, but most of the company handle’s 76 tweets are about what is among its best-selling T-shirts – the one depicting a man tied to the bonnet of a jeep which declares “Indian Army saving your a**, whether you like it or not!”

It even has a tweet directed at Scroll.in gleefully declining a request for an interview.

Notably, Major Gogoi was not only given a clean chit by the army but was awarded a chief’s commendation card a month later. This was done outside the traditional dates for giving commendations.

In the aftermath of the incident, Dar had said:  “There are no bruises over the surface, but I am hurt on the inside.”

The soldiers “played with me like I was a toy,” Dar had said. “Am I a human being or an animal?”

Join The Discussion