Did the army really use a Kashmiri as ‘human shield’ as Omar Abdullah claims?

Former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah created a flutter when he tweeted the photograph of a person forced to sit on the spare tyre of an army jeep, claiming that the Indian army was using him as a ‘human shield’ to protect itself from stone pelters.

However, a subsequent video of the incident suggests that the person was not an innocent bystander that was being used by the army as shield, but one of the captured stone pelters.

While Abdullah — whose father was in the news a few days ago for claiming that Kashmiri youth will starve, but they will still throw stones — claimed that the young man was being used to protect the army, the video reveals that the person was being forced to sit on the spare tyre as punishment for attacking the army.

Even Abdullah was forced to accept that the ‘Kashmiri youth’ was not an innocent bystander being used as a human shield by the army.

“A warning can be heard saying stone pelters will meet this fate,” Abdullah said in a subsequent tweet. However, he did not delete his first tweet alleging that it was a case of ‘human shielding’.

Even though both tweets came within an interval of four minutes, the politician’s first tweet — in which the person is portrayed as an innocent human shield — has been retweeted 2,500 times, while the ‘clarification’ has been retweeted only 560 times.

‘Human Shield’ angle caught on in the media

 

The ‘human shield’ argument caught on, with most news outlets reporting that the person was being used to protect the army, despite the fact that even according to Abdullah’s own claims, the case does not constitute one of using human shields.

HUMAN SHIELD OR ROUGH PUNISHMENT?

The Wikipedia defines the phenomenon thus: “Human shield is a military and political term describing the deliberate placement of non-combatants in or around combat targets to deter the enemy from attacking these combat targets.”

Going by the evidence in the public domain, the incident was more about¬†inflicting quick punishment to ‘miscreants’ for attacking the army rather than using innocent people for protection.

However, most of the criticism of Abdullah’s tweet has focused on why he didn’t speak up when Kashmiri youngsters harassed a group of para-military officers on election duty in the state earlier in the week.

Some others tried to dispute that it was an Indian Army jeep, while others felt the whole thing was staged.

Some, however, did suspect that it was not a case of ‘human shielding’.