Free Press Journal

Circumstances-based, says Army chief on human shield incident


Hyderabad : Maintaining that the Army has a very good human rights record, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat on Saturday said the incident of a Kashmiri man being used as a ‘human shield’ against stone pelters was circumstances-based and could not be made a standard operating procedure to deal with such situations.

He said “misinformation and disinformation” was being spread among the people of Jammu and Kashmir, compelling the younger generation to pick up arms against the security forces.

Commenting on Major Leetul Gogoi, who had tied the man to a jeep purportedly as a shield against stone pelters, Rawat said, “Everything and every action that we take is considering the nature of task that we are expected to carry out under the circumstances.”

“But we are concerned about human rights and we make sure rights of people are not violated,” he told reporters on the sidelines of an event.

Rawat was in the city as chief guest at the combined graduation parade, marking completion of the pre-commissioning training of IAF flight cadets at the Air Force Academy, Dundigal.

When asked whether it (human shield incident) could be made a standard operating procedure (SOP), the Army chief said, “No…it is not…What I am saying is it is not considered…I said it depends on the circumstances. It is circumstances-based. Each one takes action based on the circumstances, but the effort is to make sure that human rights violations are not there.”

On handling the situation in Kashmir wherein some schoolchildren were also seen to be part of the mob hurling stones at the security forces, Rawat said the Army follows very stringent rules of engagement in the Valley.