Youth tied to jeep had voted despite boycott call

Youth tied to jeep had voted despite boycott call
The Kashmiri youth, who was tied to an army jeep on the repolling day in central Kashmir’s Budgam district, was one among a minuscule few who had voted despite the election boycott call by separatists.

Farooq Ahmad Dar of Sitaharaan village in Khag tehsil of Budgam, after casting his vote, was on his way to visit his sister at her house when the army took him away, his brother Fayaz Dar said.

“My brother’s only sin was that he had voted against the popular sentiment in Kashmir. The army first tortured him and later tied him to its jeep. From 11 am to 4 pm, the army kept him tied and paraded him in 10-12 villages,” Fayaz told DH over phone.

The Dar family members, who work as artisans to earn their livelihood, came to know about the incident around 2 pm.

“We immediately contacted the police who told us to wait till the polling was over. At around 5 pm, we got to visit the army camp, where my brother had been detained. After pleading before the officers, he was released,” Fayaz said.

Asked why they didn’t lodge an FIR against the erring army personnel, he said, “We are poor. We didn’t want to invite more trouble for ourselves.”

Used him as shield
Sources said the army unit involved in the act was 53-Rashtriya Rifles, which ostensibly used Farooq as a human shield against stone-pelting by rampaging protesters.

“The decision to mount the youth on the jeep was taken by a major, who didn’t want to open fire and unleash bloodbath,” a source claimed.

Background
Eight people had died on April 9 when violence erupted during the polling for Srinagar’s Lok Sabha seat in Budgam and Ganderbal districts.

The Election Commission ordered re-poll in 38 booths on April 12 in five Assembly segment areas of Budgam.

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