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Kashmir: Man tied to army jeep in video used as shield in troubled area, say Indian army sources

Kashmiri protesters clash with Indian security forces near a polling station in Srinagar on April 9. Photograph: (AFP)

PTI Srinagar Apr 14, 2017, 11.43 PM (IST)

The Indian Army is investigating allegations that a man was tied to a jeep and allegedly used as a human shield by soldiers in Kashmir after a video of the apparent incident went viral and triggered outrage.

The man has been identified as Farooq Dar, a resident of a village in Budgam district which was was the scene of violence this week as police and paramilitary officers opened fire on thousands of protesters shouting slogans against Indian rule during a local poll.

The army unit involved in the act was 53 Rashtriya Rifles, carved out from various units of the army for fighting militancy in Jammu and Kashmir.

Sources in the army told PTI that Dar was picked up from a "trouble spot" and was tied up for barely 100 meters before being released.

Officials investigating the matter on the instructions of chief minister Mehbooba Mufti said Dar is a resident of Sitaharaan village in Budgam.

During investigations, Dar revealed that he was out to cast his vote and later visit his sister's house -- where a bereavement had taken place -- to offer condolences.

He told investigators that after casting his vote, he was proceeding towards his sister's village when he was caught by the army personnel who wanted to enter Beerwah village along with the polling staff, officials said Dar was tied to a jeep as the army moved into the village along with a convoy of jawans and some polling staff, they said.

The civilian claimed that he was released after he was paraded in 10 to 12 villages, the officials said.

Eight civilians were killed and dozens wounded in the election violence, including troops who were pelted with stones.

The 11-second clip, which went viral on social media Friday, showed an unidentified man bound to the front of an army jeep as it led a convoy through Budgam district in Indian-administered Kashmir.

The footage of the man bound to the jeep caused outcry and demands for an immediate inquiry.

The video shared was shared by former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah on his Twitter handle.
 

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A voice speaking Hindi in the background can be heard saying "stone throwers will meet a similar fate" as villagers watch.

Army spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia said in a statement Friday the video was being examined.

"The contents of the video are being verified and investigated," he told AFP.

Human rights activists say Indian forces in Kashmir have been using human shields since the late 1980s, when an armed insurgency against Indian rule erupted across the territory.

"These kinds of crimes have gone unnoticed here for decades. Now, because of an explosion in social media, it's finally coming out," Kashmiri activist Khurram Parvez told AFP. 

Soldiers battling armed rebels often come under a hail of stones from civilians in the Muslim-majority region, where anti-India sentiment is rife.

(WION with inputs from AFP, PTI)

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