Two Indian citizens have recently been victims of the violation of international law by men in uniform -but the government of India, seems to be fighting only for the rights of one.
On April 10, Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav, a former Indian naval officer who had been arrested, kept in custody and put on secret trial by the Pakistani military without being allowed to meet Indian diplomats, was sentenced to death. India took Pakistan to the International Court of Justice over violation of international law. Much to the relief of the nation, the ICJ ordered Pakistan to stay Jadhav’s execution.
And on April 9, Farooq Ahmed Dar of Kashmir, an artisan and weaver of shawls, was abducted and taken hostage by a group of Indian soldiers. This act was in retaliation. The soldiers tied Dar to the front of their jeep and drove him around the district for several hours, warning bystanders on a loudspeaker that this would be the fate of anyone caught throwing stones on the security forces. The use of a civilian as a hostage, or ‘human shield’, was a violation of the right to life and liberty enshrined in the Indian constitution. It was also a violation of international law as well.
A few weeks later the same major, who used Dar as a human shield, was awarded the army chief’s commendation card!
Army officials had earlier said the troops were forced to take the extreme step to save themselves from stone-pelting, which has become one of the most common and frequent forms of protest in Kashmir since the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani.
Any sort of attack on the army by the civilians deserves a stern action but randomly selecting a man – one who belongs to 7% of the people who regularly vote with the hope of a better state – and using him as a human shield is indeed unbefitting conduct of the army.