Maj Gogoi to be punished for 'fraternising' with local

Major Gogoi will suffer the ignominy of reduction in seniority and exit from Kashmir Valley

Gogoi and Malla's summary of evidence was completed in early February, followed by the initiation of the court-martial proceedings, they said. File photo

Major Leetul Gogoi, an army officer at the center of 2017 ‘human shield case’, will suffer the ignominy of reduction in seniority and exit from Kashmir Valley with the Army headquarters confirming the punishment for “fraternising” with a local girl last year.
 
Major Gogoi, who had tied a civilian Farooq Ahmad Dar of Chill-Brass village in Budgam district on the day of Srinagar Parliamentary elections in April 2017, was caught by people with a local girl from a hotel in Srinagar on 23 May last year. Following this, Army ordered a Court of Inquiry (CoI) to ascertain the facts.
 
Last August, orders were issued to initiate disciplinary action against Major Gogo after the CoI held him accountable for “fraternising” with a local in spite of instructions to the contrary and being away from the place of duty.
 
The company commander of the unit of his driver Sameer Malla, who was facing charges of unauthorised absence, has been authorised to decide on his punishment which includes a “severe reprimand.” Malla was posted with 53 sector of Rashtriya Rifles in Jammu and Kashmir.
 
The proceedings of the court-martial were confirmed by the Army headquarters after which it was decided to shift him out the valley, the officials said, adding that the final orders were received recently.
 
In April 2017, a video showing Major Gogoi from 53-Rashtriya Rifles parading a civilian after tying him to the bonnet of army vehicle went viral on social media and created uproar. The police had ordered an investigation into the case after the incident evoked widespread condemnation, with human rights activists demanding action against Gogoi.
 
However, the army chief General Bipin Rawat while defending Major Gogoi’s action had said they were facing a “dirty war” in Jammu and Kashmir which has to be fought through “innovative” ways.
 
He was later awarded the Army Chief Commendation Card for ‘sustained efforts in counter-insurgency operations.’
 
However, shortly after Major Gogoi was caught with a girl, Army chief General Bipin Rawat said that the officer would face “exemplary punishment”, if found involved in any unlawful act. 
 
“If any officer in the Indian army, at any rank, does any wrong and it comes to our notice, we will take strictest possible action. If Major Gogoi has done something wrong, I assure you that he will be awarded punishment at the earliest. The punishment will set an example," the Army chief had said.

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