India backs use of human shields in Kashmir

India’s defense minister on Wednesday backed the Indian Army’s use of human shields in disputed Kashmir, calling it a war strategy. “Military solutions are to be provided by military officers,” Arun Jaitley told reporters in New Delhi. “We should allow our army officers to take decisions.” The minister, who likened the situation in the disputed territory to a war, added that the army does not need to consult parliamentarians over what it needs to do.
Jaitley’s comments came amid a controversy over viral videos last month showing a Kashmiri civilian tied to an Indian Army jeep. The civilian was used as a human shield to stop protesters from throwing stones at Indian Army troops guarding a polling booth during by-elections in Srinagar. Many residents in Kashmir view the Indian Army as an occupying force in the region. The army, earlier this week, awarded Maj. Leetul Gogoi, the officer who had ordered the use of human shields on April 9, maintaining that his prompt response had managed to disperse a mob which would have sabotaged the election process.

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