Why Army may court martial Major who tied Kashmiri to a jeep

New Delhi: The Army sources on Monday revealed that Major Leetul Gogoi, who is facing a Court of Inquiry (CoI) after he was seen with a local woman in a Srinagar hotel, is likely to be court-martialled.

“Orders have been issued to initiate disciplinary action. The CoI has held him accountable for fraternising a local in spite of instructions to the contrary and being away from the place of duty while in an operational area,” an Army source said.

Charges levelled by Army

  • After the CoI was ordered, earlier this month, a report reached the Srinagar based 15 Corps headquarters to recommend action.

  • As per reports, the draft stated that Gogoi had violated Army’s rule against developing relationship with a local woman in a conflict zone and breaching the standard operating procedure of staying away from place of duty.

What happened at hotel

  • Gogoi was detained by the J&K police on May 23 after he was involved in a scuffle with hotel authorities– who reportedly denied him to occupy a room with an 18-year-old local woman.

  • He reportedly checked into a hotel after a room was booked online for him. He got into a fight with the hotel staff when a woman came, apparently to meet him, but wasn’t allowed to go to the room.

  • Following Gogoi’s arrest, the army chief Gen. Bipin Rawat, during a visit to the Jammu and Kashmir, had assured action against the colonel if he was found guilty. “If any officer of the Indian Army is found guilty of any offence, we will take strictest possible action,” Rawat said.

Woman called Gogoi ‘Facebook friend’

  • In her deposition before the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) of Srinagar, the Kashmiri woman in the case had said that Gogoi was her Facebook friend and they had met earlier as well. The woman had also said that she was not a minor and produced her Aadhar card to validate her claim.

  • However, several reports, on account of woman’s mother, had brought forth a different narrative. The mother, Naseema Begum, had asserted that Major Gogoi along with another army personnel, Sameer Ahmad Malla, was raiding their house in civilian clothes since March 2018. Begum had accused Malla of ‘luring’ her daughter and also bringing Major Gogoi to their house.

The infamous ‘Human shield’ incident

  • Major Gogoi had stirred another controversy in April 2018, after he used a local, Farooq Dar, as a human shield against those pelting stones during polling in the Srinagar Lok Sabha by-election.

  • On this occasion, he was awarded a commendation card by Gen. Rawat in appreciation of his sustained efforts in counter-insurgency operations.