Budgam May 23 (ANI) : After the Jammu and Kashmir Police refused to quash the First Information Report (FIR) against him for tying a man to the bonnet of his jeep to serve as a ‘human shield’, Major Leetul Gogoi on Tuesday defended his act by saying that he took the step “to save the people trapped in the polling booth.”
“I got a call on April 9, when the by-election was being held in the Budgam sector of Jammu and Kashmir. I got a call from an officer, who informed me that around 1,200 people had cornered their booth and were trying to burn it with petrol bombs. When I went there, I somehow managed to rescue the polling staff and tried to escort them away to safety, but it was proving very difficult in the face of more than 1,200 stone-pelters,” he told in a press briefing here.
He said that at that time he saw the man who was instigating the crowd and was even-raising anti-national slogans. So, they caught the man after which the crowd dispersed a bit.
“It was very difficult to control them; their number was considerably increasing. I could have opened fire, but that would have even worsened the situation. At that time suddenly in my mind, I thought to tie the stone-pelters to the jeep. Seeing this, the stone-pelting stopped. Then I got a safe window to come out. I did these things just to save the local people. Had I not done it, 12 people would have died,” Gogoi said.
Earlier, the political parties were left irked when Major Gogoi was awarded by Chief of Army Staff ‘s ( COAS ) Commendation Card for his sustained distinguished service till now in counter-insurgency operations in the state, citing that his measures against stone-pelters would only aggravate the situation in the Valley.
The officer was awarded by Army chief Gen. Bipin Rawat during his recent visit to Jammu and Kashmir.
Major Gogoi was in the spotlight after a video shot during the April 9 Srinagar Lok Sabha by-polls, posted on the social media, showed a man tied on the bonnet of an Army jeep in Jammu and Kashmir ‘s Badgam.
The video went viral and sparked a major controversy, with one faction condemning the Army’s action while the other commended their ingenuity.
The Court of Inquiry regarding April 9 incident is under finalisation. (ANI)