Outrage over Omar’s Abdullah’s video of army using a human shield

Twitter exploded in rage on Friday after former J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah tweeted a video and photographs showing an army convoy using a civilian as a human shield

Photos courtesy: Twitter.com/abdullah_omar
Photos courtesy: Twitter.com/abdullah_omar

NH Political Bureau

Former Jammu & Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah caused a sensation on Friday morning by tweeting first two photographs and then a video of what he said was an army convoy using a civilian as a human shield.

Tied on the bonnet of the escort vehicle, the human hostage was apparently meant to act as a deterrent to stone pelters and militants.

Abdullah tweeted, “This young man was TIED to the front of an army jeep to make sure no stones were thrown at the jeep? This is just so shocking!!”

Without disclosing the location and date of the incident, Wani Absar posted the video of showing the same person, and wrote on Twitter: Video shows how Indian army has tied a #Kashmir'i civilian to the front of Jeep during patrolling. #Kashmir

The picture and video is believed to have been shot in Gundipora Beerwah area of Central Kashmir’s Budgam district.

An army spokesperson said: The video is being verified and its contests would be investigated.

“which is more shocking to you.. A soldier being pelted, kicked, booed like a criminal..Or a criminal stone pelter NOT being hurt nor jailed?,” Rita Singh, posted in response to his tweet, along with the video of jawans being heckled by the mob.

The tweet immediately drew angry response from a large number of Twitter users who accused the Abdullahs of trying to defame the army and promoting the separatists’, or worse Pakistani, agenda by tweeting such videos. While some questioned the authenticity of the video, others reacted by saying that the army had a duty to perform.

Columnist Tavleen Singh jumped into the fray and asked Abdullah to tweet the video in which CRPF jawans were seen exercising restraint while being kicked and pushed around by a group of Kashmiri youth. “You should also tweet the video of armed CRPF jawans not responding violently despite abuse from Kashmiri boys,”she tweeted eliciting the following response from Abdullah: Ma'am seriously?You are going to use that video to justify this action. So we should expect no better from the army than from stone pelters?”

The video which Tavleen Singh referred to had prompted cricketers Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag to tweet that kicking para-military personnel was not acceptable, that ‘Kashmir is ours’, that Jehadis could go to Pakistan and for every slap received by a jawan, a hundred lives should be taken.

The outrage by cricketers, with Mohammad Kaif also supporting Gambhir, elicited an equally strong reaction in Kashmir.

Author of The Collaborator and The Book of Gold Leaves, Mirza Waheed tweeted: More than Kashmiris, it's progressive India that should worry, and worry a lot, when star cricketers call for mass murder.

Former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju sought to put things in perspective when he posted on his Facebook page the following : “I have many relatives who were in the Indian army, and who were posted in Kashmir or in the North-East where there was militancy. They explained to me the psychology of our soldiers.

Suppose a patrol of 10 or 20 of our soldiers is going in some area in Kashmir, and is fired upon by some militants. If in this firing 2 or 3 of our soldiers are killed, the rest of them tend to go crazy, seeking revenge for their fallen comrades. They may then enter a neighbouring village, thinking it harboured these militants ( and may indeed have), and shoot at innocent civilians, despite all instructions to the contrary from higher authorities.. Sometimes even their officers cannot control them. Also, a soldier who has stayed in militancy-affected areas for long periods, as many Indian soldiers have to do, is often no longer psychologically normal, expecting death at any moment. Hence he sometimes tends to do crazy things, like firing at civilians.”

Katju also posted some messages he had received from Kashmiri Muslims in the Valley. One of them read: Heard that Southpaw Gautam Gambhir's and Virender Sehwag's blood is boiling because CRPF men were assaulted by few youths in Kashmir. I personally condemn what our youths did with troops because we are Kashmiris and that was totally opposite to Kashmiriyat.. But I just want to ask a few questions to the former cricketers : where were you when 150+ kashmiris were killed in 2016? Where were you when 300+ kashmiris lost their eyesight? Where were you when 11000 kashmiris were injured? Where were you when Indian troops were destroying property of locals?”

“Oh these are issues of last year you might forgot but on Sunday 09/04/2017 where were your tweets when 9 youths were killed?”

As the controversy raged, someone from Kashmir tweeted, “Kashmir is ours but Kashmiris can go to hell ?”

This article was updated at 2.17 pm on April 14, 2017 to add a tweet link

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Published: 14 Apr 2017, 1:45 PM