National Conference on Monday expressed disappointment over the clean-chit provided by the Army to its Officer responsible for resorting to the use of a human-shield in Budgam District in April and said the verdict of the military investigation goes against not only the Military Code and the very premise of the Geneva Convention but also violates the fundamental rights provided by the Constitution of India to all its citizens. In a statement issued to KNS, National Conference State Spokesperson Junaid Azim Mattu said it was tragic that the Army rather than initiating swift and strict disciplinary action against the erring Major has ended up commending him and condoning his act of tying a civilian, Farooq Ahmed Dar to an Army Jeep. “Farooq Ahmed Dar was tied to the bonnet of an Army Jeep and paraded through around twenty four villages. The Army had irrefutable video evidence that this civilian was used as a human-shield and robbed of his right to dignity, due process of law and his freedom. This was a moment for the State to take a moral stand and unequivocally condemn this incident and initiate proceedings against the concerned officer. Unfortunately the reverse has happened as an institution of the State has proactively sought justification to justify an absolutely unjustifiable act”, the NC Spokesperson said.
The NC Spokesperson said efforts to project this unacceptable disregard to propriety and law as some sort of a dynamic call allegedly necessary to save lives was an attempt to reverse-engineer a wrong to justify it. “Certain things are outrightly unjustified and unjustifiable – regardless of the circumstances or your narration of those circumstances. We live in a democratic country where people have unquestionable and unconditional fundamental rights and these fundamental rights cannot be put into abeyance as per the whims of an individual or his perception of what is right and what is wrong in a given situation. The Constitution is not open to selective application. To somehow expect that this act can be justified by rank whataboutery and by making counter accusations to discount this violation is ridiculous. You cannot hold the institution of the Army to the same standard as non-State actors or protesters”, the NC Spokesperson said.
The NC Spokesperson said the State Government should have been at the forefront of seeking justice for Farooq Ahmed Dar whose psychological trauma has been noted and highlighted by the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) itself. “Unfortunately our Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti is completely fine with anything and everything, as long as she continues to sit in the Chief Minister’s chair. The State Government was duty-bound to raise this issue with the Central Government and if needed even seek for a waiver of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in this case as using a human-shield isn’t a feature provided for by AFSPA either. Farooq Ahmed Dar wasn’t involved in an incident of violence, neither was the act of tying him to the jeep and parading him through twenty odd villages a counter-insurgency operation – so the question of immunity under AFSPA doesn’t arise”, the NC Spokesperson added. (KNS)