In a shocking development, a New Delhi-based online business portal run by a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader has started to promote Army’s Human Shield Act in Kashmir by dedicating a T-shirts to it.
The online business outlet T-Shirt Bhaiya (tshirtbhaiya.com), was recently launched by a spokesperson of Bharatiya Janata Party (Delhi unit),Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga.
The graphic T-shirts available on the portal inscribed with a vehicle and human tied to the bonnet of it with a strong message “Indian Army...saving your ass whether you like it or not!”, the move seen as very insensitive and very derogatory in nature.
The portal dedicates this T-shirt to Major Leetul Gogoi', the army officer who tied a civilian Farooq Ahmad Dar of Chill Budgam to the bonnet of his vehicles and used him as a human shield to allegedly avoid get stone pelted by protesters on 09 April—the day when Lok Sabah polls for Srinagar constituency were being held.
“New Day, New Design once again & this is dedicated to Indian Army's Hero Major Gogoi. Book now at http://www.tshirtbhaiya.com ,” the portal’s twitter handle posted on Thursday read.
The portal purportedly speaks about revenge by producing T-shirts against stone pelting on Army.
“Stop stone pelting on our Army, We will stop making T-shirt,” the business portal tweeted on Friday while sharing a news link regarding the launch of T-shirts.
Soon after the launch of T-shirt, many netizens reacted with rage over the product which has landed the business portal in controversy.
Journalist Shekhar Gupta reacted sharply on twitter and wrote, “A dignified, tough, “duty & honor-first" Army like ours would treat this with contempt this abominable & commercial trivialisation deserves.” (sic)
Another Twitterati identifying himself as a young entrepreneur & RTI activist tweeted the T-shirts were more damaging for Army.
“This is more damaging for our army in long run. Also the caption is misleading when you see it with the pic,” he tweeted.
A Mumbai-based Twitterati termed the idea of making money in the name Army, wrong.
“I like this company Making money out of our Hindu gods and Now From the Army ...smart but wrong. Okay If it was a non-profit organisation,” Sheshagiri Anegondi tweeted.
Some netizens praised the move and demanded T-shirts may be produced in different colors.
“Would be great if we can get it in olive green,” Rishabh Agnihotri wrote on twitter.
On 09 April when Lok Sabah polls were being held in Srinagar parliamentary constituency, Farooq Ahmad Dar son of Abdul Rahim Dar of Chill, Beerwah In Budgam district accompanied by another civilian Hilal Ahmad Magray son of Ghulam Mohammad were proceeding to Gampora village for offering condolence to a relative. While returning, Dar was lifted by Army at Utligam Village where the stone pelting was going on and was tied to the bonnet of the Army jeep as a human shield and was paraded around several villages.
The incident was widely publicized and criticized by a large section of people.
In July the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) asked government to provide rupees ten lakh to the victim for suffering the humiliation, physical and psychological tortures.
“I have no doubt in my mind that Farooq Ahmad was subjected to torture and humiliation besides was wrongly confined. It is medically also established that he didn’t suffer only humiliation publically but also suffered trauma which resulted in psychiatric stress which may remain with him for rest of his life,” SHRC had observed in its order on 10 July.
Chairman of the International Forum for Justice and Human Rights (IFJHR), Ahsan Untoo who has filed many petitions regarding the Army act, said that he will file a defamation case against the online portal for promoting such inhuman act.
“I was shocked when I received a call informing me about the online portal. I will file a defamation suit against them. Promoting this human shield act is against human rights,” Untoo told Rising Kashmir.
Untoo said the victim was already under trauma and the portal’s move will make him “loose his mind”.
“He will lose his state of mind,” he said and asked “whether Indian Home Minister’s Kashmir visit was aimed to bring peace and stability or convey his party’s Delhi spokesperson’s warning to Kashmiris”.
“Let them (BJP) call and ask the victim what has happened to him,” Untoo said.
Owner of the online portal Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga, sounding undeterred by Untoo’s stand said,” let them file the case. We will see in the court.”
Terming Army’s human shield act as the one of “bravery”, Bagga said: “We want to show the act of bravery by Army which we are showing.”
“Those who were saved that day were also Kashmiris,” Bagga added.
Asked about the criticism against the T-shirts on social media Bagga said people have right to say their opinion.
“When people in Kashmir raising pro-freedom slogans are not stopped by police, I don’t think we have done something undemocratic. We are just showing the brave act of Army,” he told Rising Kashmir.