Assam Defends Major Gogoi

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LOOKEAST REPORT |

His home state Assam seems to be backing Major Nitin Leetul Gogoi in the latest controversy over his alleged attempt to spend a night with a Kashmiri woman in a Srinagar hotel.

Nitin Leetul Gogoi, the Indian Army major who made headlines last year for using a Kashmiri man as human shield in Budgam during last year’s election, was on Wednesday detained briefly by the police following an altercation at a hotel where he allegedly wanted to enter with an 18–year–old Kashmiri woman, according to a police official.

Gogoi’s driver and the woman were also detained. The police has initiated an inquiry into the entire incident.

Online hotel reservation receipt of Major Leetul Gogoi. Source: Grand Mamta Hotel

The altercation happened on Wednesday morning when Major Gogoi, along with his driver and the woman, tried to check into a Srinagar hotel but was refused entry as the hotel staff were opposed to the presence of the local girl.

 

Army unit arrived along with Military Police and the two were handed over by the local police after recording their statements, the official said. The Major claimed it was a ‘source meeting’

 

The booking was made online in the name of Leetul Gogoi for two guests for one night, a police official who did not wish to be named in media.

Inspector General of Police (Kashmir Range) Swayam Prakash Pani ordered a probe into the incident by Superintendent of Police (North). Pani has directed that the report be submitted at the earliest, according to the official.

Police have asked for the hotel’s CCTV footage as well as the room reservation form filled by the Major, as part of its probe. Srinagar–based Corps Commander Lt Gen A K Bhatt was apprised of the situation, the official said. However, the official said the police had not registered any case.

 

 

CCTV footage of Major Gogoi in hotel reception.

 

Asked for a comment, Army sources in New Delhi told media that the future course would be decided once police investigations were over and circumstances became clear.

A team of Major Gogoi’s Army unit arrived along with Military Police and the two were handed over by the local police after recording their statements, the official said. The Major claimed it was a ‘source meeting’, the police official added.

According to the official, the “sobbing woman” told the police that she knew the driver and had accompanied him to Srinagar.

Gogoi had hit the headlines last year in April when he tied to his jeep and paraded Farooq Ahmed Dar, a local, through 28 villages in Budgam district, apparently to escape stone pelters. The Army had defended the action and claimed that it was committed in good faith to save lives of many soldiers and polling staff from violent stone pelters in Utligam village of Beerwah.

The incident was widely criticised by political parties and intellectuals.

Many from Assam have taken to the Facebook to defend Major Gogoi. The arguments are similar – let the enquiry report come out, the lady was an adult, possibly she was a source who Gogoi wanted to meet in secret for operational reasons.

Expectedly Gogoi gets strong support from army colleagues.

Following the row at the hotel, Major Gogoi is now trending on Twitter.

Major Leetul Gogoi hailing from Namrup in Assam belongs to the 53 Rashtriya Rifles. He is a recipient of the Indian Army chief’s ‘commendation card’ for his ‘sustained efforts’ in counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir. ■

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