Kashmir has always been a hot topic for debate between ‘patriotic’ nationalists and ‘liberal’ activists. But the recent developments in the region have brought an entirely new aspect into the foray, where there is an active contention about the safety of the army versus the human rights of the locals.
The tying of a Kashmiri local in front of an Army jeep certainly adheres to that contention. Farooq Ahmed Dar was tied in front of a jeep on the orders of an army officer Major Leetul Gogoi to facilitate a peaceful, or a rather ‘uneventful’ passing of the army convoy.
Major Gogoi, who has been lauded by his top boss and the fraternity for his quick thinking, was stuck in a rather difficult position of rescuing election officials in violence-marred Srinagar, where they were allegedly surrounded by stone pelting protesters.
This topic has been widely circulated in the press and has been fiercely debated amongst intellectuals and politicians alike. While most journalists and media-houses juggle the intricate balance between army safety and the rights of Kashmiri locals, there’s an entirely unexplored angle of the whole scenario where the seemingly ‘peaceful’ local Farooq Ahmad Dar unwittingly played a crucial role.
Dar drew public attention towards Kashmir in a different light, and became an icon of sorts, similar to some politically and socially charged events in India’s recent past.
The picture of the Godhra victim is still freshly etched in the public memory, his hands clasped, tears in his eyes, pleading for mercy. The recent lynching of a man in Bihar for eating beef is another such case where we are shown the gruesome nature of mob mentality.
These two images are the prime evidence of how a single person in times of turmoil can give a perspective of the pain, the problems and of the possible solutions amid all sorts of mindless debates and political hogwash. The image implores the viewer and invokes a reaction – either positive or negative.
Now, as ferociously debated as the matter is, it is difficult to argue the role of Farooq Ahmad Dar in saving the lives of his fellow citizens and those of the army men.
And while some would argue if the right to pelt stones is greater than the right to live, that singular act of tying gave some tangible results for the rather sticky situation. However, we do not condone or promote such acts where a person is used as a human shield. That said, Farooq Ahmed Dar was instrumental in avoiding a confrontation and saving lives if only unwillingly.