On Monday, the Indian army bosses stunningly pronounced Major Leetul Gogoi, a controversial officer, guilty in a case related to luring a Kashmiri girl to a hotel in May this year.
While declaring Major Gogoi guilty, the Indian Army’s Court of Inquiry (CoI) on Monday also held him accountable for “fraternising with locals inspite of instructions to the contrary and for being away from the place of duty while in operational area.”
Once the Corps Commander approves the CoI’s findings, the Indian Army will then frame charges against the officer citing relevant provisions of the Army Act. They can then decide to either punish the officer or convene a court-martial to try the officer, reported Indian Express.
Monday’s development came as a big blow to an army officer, who was widely hailed by the right-wing Indian media as a hero after he paraded an innocent Kashmiri Muslim by tying him to his jeep last year. Gogoi became an instant hero understandably because the victim in this case was a Kashmiri Muslim and the act suited the agenda of the champions of India’s fake nationalists.
Barring a few media houses such as The Indian Express, no one bothered to highlight 26-year-old Farooq Ahmed Dar’s version that he was on his way to attend a funeral in the family when he was picked up and tied to the army jeep. Dar’s brother, Fayaz Ahmad, had told DNA newspaper that the former had even cast his vote in the Srinagar by-elections the same day before he left to attend the condolence meeting of a relative when he was picked up by Gogoi and tied to the bonnet of their jeep to keep stone throwers at bay.
Despite facing public humiliation, Dar had decided not to file a complaint highlighting his poverty-stricken background and lack of hope of justice as a reason.
“Gareeb log hain, kya karengey complain (We are poor people, what will we complain). I live alone with my asthmatic mother who is 75-years-old. I am scared. Anything can happen to me. I am not a stone-pelter,” he had said. His mother Fazie too had agreed, “No, we don’t want any inquiry. We are poor people. I don’t want to lose him. He is the only one I have to look after me in my old age.”
Far from being shaken by these words of utter helplessness, the blood-thirsty Indian media houses went berserk in pushing their fake agenda by continuously vilifying an innocent man.
The so-called nationalists did not care to appreciate that here was a man, who was exercising his right to vote in a by-poll to elect an MP for the Indian parliament. No so-called journalist bothered to praise Dar for his willingness to be a part of Indian democratic values in a dangerous region, where pronouncing one’s loyalty for India has been a life-threatening exercise. Here was a man, who had chosen to be a part of the democratic system even on the day he had a bereavement in his family, something a stone-pelter would desperately seek to negate.
But, in their desperation to push their hate agenda and project every Kashmiri as a villain, the propaganda houses masquerading as platforms for meaningful journalism, did nothing to question the act of Major Gogoi, who had suddenly emerged as their hero.
Blinded by their false hero-worshiping, the usual suspects in the Indian media fraternity also immediately extended their support to Gogoi.
They moved swiftly in peddling fake news in their bid to declare Gogoi innocent. India Today-owned Mail Today had to face public humiliation after it carried fake news titled “Major who tied Kashmiri civilian to Jeep given clean chit, Army Brass believes he saved lives.”
The Indian army immediately wrote to Abhijit Majumder, the then managing editor of Mail Today, expressing its displeasure on the wrong reportage by his platform.
Colonel Aman Anand, the army’s public relations officer, had written, “Please refer to report titled “ Major who tied Kashmiri civilian to Jeep given clean chit, Army Brass believes he saved lives” authored by Kamaljit Kaur Sandhu published in Mail Today dated 15 May 2017. The report has stated that the Court of Inquiry has given clean chit to the Major involved in an incident wherein a civilian was tied to an Army jeep. As the Court of Inquiry concerned with the incident is still incomplete, it is inappropriate to speculate on the findings of the inquiry based on information given by unverified sources.”
Colonel Anand had later confirmed to Janta Ka Reporter about writing to Mail Today on the fake news carried out by one of its reporters.
India Today wasn’t the only media house, guilty of peddling lies on Gogoi’s action. Arnab Goswami’s Republic TV too had moved with lightening speed to flash fake news declaring Major Gogoi ‘not guilty.’ Its news flash on 24 May had read, “BREAKING: Clean chit given to Major Gogoi.”
One of the investors in Republic TV is Rajeev Chandrasekhar, the BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP. One wonders if likes of Goswami will apologise for eulogising a dubious army officer.