Shielding Against the Law
Manasa Venkataraman

While the act of using human shields is undoubtedly an unconventional measure and can grossly upset our sensibilities, to judge such an act only through the permeable fabric of de-standardised morality is an excersise of niavity and ignorance at best and deliberate deciet at worst.

The fluidity of an armed conflict and its potential to escalate further is well documented not only in India but across the world. Thus, any event that safeguards not only the parties from such an escalation but the bystanders must be commended, irrespective of the notions of ethical standards guiding one’s moral compass.

While the term human shield suggests a coerced action to use a non combatant as a safeguard against an attacking combatant unit, local population had often served as voluntary human shields in many wars and conflict zones including Jammu and Kashmir especially against the security forces.

The unfounded pronouncement of guilt of Maj. Gogoi and innocence of the Mr. Dar is nothing but an irony since the author is so keen to cite the Constitution of India. If one is to throw a stone with the intent to harm another individual, that is tantamount to attempt to murder and allows an individual to defend using lethal force if necessary.

What Maj. Gogoi was to descalate a volatile situtation and thus safeguarding the very same right that the author is so keen to uphold. The only difference is rather simple, Maj. Gogoi ensured the right to life and dignity for the men under his command and even Mr. Dar by not engaging the enemy with lethal or non-lethal force, an act worthy of an Officer charged with an unfathomable responsibility.

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