The Jammu and Kashmir government has rejected recommendation of the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) to pay compensation of Rs. 10 lakh to a civilian who was used as human shield by the Army in the Budgam district of Kashmir during the by-election for the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat to prevent a violent stone-pelting mob from damaging the voting machines and attack the electoral staff. Taking note of the incident of April 9, the SHRC had on 10 July ordered the government to pay the compensation to Farooq Ahmad Dar who was made human shield by Major Nitin Leetul Gagoi when stone-pelters surrounded the polling booth and tried to damage the voting machines and attack the polling staff.The state government while questioning SHRC’s jurisdiction to adjudicate the matter has pointed out that no allegation of human rights violation has been leveled by Dar against the government or any functionary. The empowered committee had observed that the grounds on which compensation has been recommended cannot be accepted due to various reasons. The state government had fulfilled its obligation by registering a FIR into the matter.
The Home department of the state has also pointed out to the SHRC that since investigation into the matter is pending, paying compensation shall tantamount to establish guilt of the accused without affording him any opportunity of being heard. Moreover, there is no scheme for compensating such persons. The empowered committee turned down the recommendation of SHRC after examining reports submitted by the police headquarters, CID and the district administration of Budgam.The report of the government stated that the motive was to make Dar a human shield against stone-pelters who were hell bent to sabotage the poll process. The Army authorities had immediately after the incident justified the action of Major Gagoi who saved lives of the polling staff by strapping Dar to bonnet of an Army jeep and drove him about 15 km.
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