Army court holds Major Leetul Gogoi guilty in Srinagar hotel case


New Delhi, August 27: Major Leetul Gogoi, who hit the headlines in April last year for using a civilian as a shield against stone-throwers, has been held guilty by a court of inquiry of fraternising with a local and being away from his place of duty in an operational area.
Army sources said disciplinary orders have been issued against him, based on the findings of the army court of inquiry.
On May 23, police detained Maj Gogoi following an altercation when he was allegedly trying to enter a Srinagar hotel with an 18-year-old woman. The army ordered a CoI into the incident shortly after.
The CoI has held him accountable for “fraternising” with a local in spite of instructions to the contrary and “being away from the place of duty while in operational area”.
Two days later, General Bipin Rawat, the army chief, had said in Pahalgam that exemplary punishment would be given to Gogoi if he was found guilty of “any offence”.
“If any officer of the Indian army is found guilty of any offence, we will take strictest possible action,” Gen. Rawat told reporters at Pahalgham.
Maj Gogoi, an officer with 53 Rashtriya Rifles, a specialized anti-insurgency force for Jammu & Kashmir, had strapped on Farooq Ahmad Dar to the fender of his army vehicle to ward off a mob of stone-throwers who had surrounded the civilian party he was escorting.
Deployed as a quick reaction team at a polling booth in Srinagar, Maj Leetul’s unit and 20-odd officials had been surrounded by a huge mob of stone-pelters.
Major Leetul managed to get out of the sticky situation without firing a single shot.
His action had outraged human rights lobbies, but Gen Rawat had hailed him for his “innovative way” of dealing with protesters and later awarded him a commendation card for his role in counter-insurgency operations. (Agencies)