India

Indian award for Kashmir 'human shield' officer

Man tied to front of car
Image caption A man was reportedly used as a human shield in Kashmir in April

A military officer accused of using a man as a human shield in Indian-administered Kashmir has won a commendation from the army chief.

Major Leetul Gogoi is accused of tying a local man to a jeep to stop protesters throwing stones at his convoy.

An investigation was ordered after the incident in April, footage of which spread widely online.

The army said the award was not linked to the jeep incident.

"Major Gogoi has been awarded [the] chief of army staff's commendation card for [his] sustained efforts in counter-insurgency operations," the PTI news agency quoted army spokesperson Colonel Aman Anand as saying.

The video of the jeep incident went viral, with many terming the act "inhumane". The army said the inquiry was continuing.

The brother of the man tied to the jeep called the award a "mockery".

Speaking to the Indian Express, he said of his brother: "He has confined himself to his room. Had this kind of an incident taken place elsewhere then justice would have been done."

The region saw fresh clashes in April between troops and protesters amid attempts to hold a by-election.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Schoolgirls have participated in protests against Indian rule

Local protesters hurled stones at security forces, who were accused of opening fire into the crowds.

A viral video of a group of Kashmiris heckling a soldier has also contributed to anti-Kashmiri sentiment in the rest of the country.

There has been an armed revolt in the Muslim-majority region against rule by India since 1989.

High unemployment and complaints of heavy-handed tactics by security forces battling street protesters and fighting insurgents have aggravated the problem.

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