Award-winning Major Gogoi held after scuffle in Srinagar hotel

Controversial army officer major Leetul Gogoi of the Army’s 53 Rashtriya Rifles, who had tied a civilian to the bonnet of his vehicle in Budgam last year using him as a human shield to ward off stone pelters, is being probed by the authorities after he was detained by Jammu and Kashmir police following a fracas in a hotel. A local girl and two other persons are also being questioned.

According to the police, the staff of hotel Grand Mamata in Srinagar’s Dalgate area around 11 am informed it about an altercation with a guest. The initial version of the sequence of event is that a woman along with Sameer Ahmed of Budgam had come to see Major Gogoi who was staying in the hotel. The staff at the reception grew suspicious and asked for their identity cards. This led to an altercation between the officer and hotel staff. All the persons involved in the fracas were taken to Khanyar police station. The police claimed that the major was handed over to the army authorities and a probe was ordered. The army is also likely to conduct a court of inquiry as some reports suggested that the officer was not on leave.

Confirming the incident, Inspector General of Police (Kashmir range) SP Pani said that a probe has been launched into the incident. “We are investigating the matter. We need to go by the merit of the case. We have informed Army unit where he (Major Gogoi) is posted.”

The hotel management said that a room was booked online in the name of Leetul Gogoi R/o Assam for Wednesday. The police have recorded the statement of all the three persons and also the hotel staff and some witnesses, the officials said.

Major Gogoi is the recepient of army chief’s commendation for his act of tying up local Kashmiri Farooq Ahmad Dar of Chill-Brass village in Budgam using him as human shield to deter stone pelters from attacking an army convoy on election duty. The incident had sparked an outrage in the valley but the government had hailed the officer for preventing loss of lives. He was hailed as a hero by a section while others found his conduct of using a human shield as a commendable act. The probe into the latest incident is being carried out by  SP North City (Srinagar).

Gautam Datt