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From ‘human shield’ to poll duty: The journey of Budgam artisan Farooq Dar

SRINAGAR

Farooq Ahmad Dar, who was tied to the bonnet of an Army jeep during the 2017 by-elections in Jammu and Kashmir, on Thursday, in a curious turn of events, did election duty in the Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency.

An embroidery artisan from Cheill-Brass village in Beerwah segment of Budgam district, Dar had just come out after casting his vote in April 2017 when stone pelting started in the area.

To avoid being attacked by the stonepelters, Major Leetul Gogoi of the Rashtriya Rifles tied Dar to the bonnet of his jeep as he left the spot parading him through several villages.

After widespread condemnation of the Major’s act to make Dar a ‘human shield’, the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) ordered the Jammu and Kashmir government to pay him Rs 10 lakh in compensation.

Though he is yet to get the compensation, the government did give Dar the job of a sweeper in the Health Department on consolidated wages last year.

“He has been deputed on election duty at a polling station,” said a Health Department official in Budgam district, which falls in the Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency.

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