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Soldiers live at the bleeding edges of morality

By Newsd
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Soldiers live at the bleeding edges of morality major gogoi kashmir unrest

Many are infuriated by the Army’s decision to honour Major Leetul Gogoi. Hordes of people are still exercised over Major Gogoi’s actions. They all seem to know his decision was wrong, but nobody is pondering over the other options he had.

Soldiers live at the bleeding edges of morality. That is why they are more than the ordinary – they have to make decisions, that would freeze the minds of the ordinary, in moments.

Major Gogoi used Occam’s Razor to choose the least vile, the least immoral option he had before him. Let me explain to you why I say so.

The much talked about incident:
A Quick Response Team (QRT) is a platoon strength of troops that patrol urban areas and long stretches of border roads. It consists of an officer in a jeep and armed troops, armed with light infantry weapons, in an Army truck. They are the Army’s first line of action and do not have a particular task, other than continually patrolling their area of responsibility.

On that fateful day, Major Gogoi was commanding a QRT when he received a radio SOS from an ITBP detachment posted at a polling booth, along with some J&K Police jawans and civilian polling officials. The SOS informed their location and the fact that they were surrounded by a violent mob of around 700 people.

Major Gogoi, a young officer in his late 20s, had the following options:

1. Do nothing and ignore the SOS, thereby risking over a dozen men being lynched to death.

2. Rush the mob with a platoon strength of assault rifles, hoping for fire support from inside the polling booth. This would have caused a huge massacre with enormous political fallout.

3. Think on the run and do what he did – catch the nearest man (Farooq Dar), tie him to the jeep, wade into the mob and rescue the over dozen personnel. Not a shot fired. Not a life lost. About 17 personnel rescued.

He went with the third option. If there was a fourth option, he could not think of it or maybe such an option didn’t exist.

Then, Major Gogoi went overboard. He did the one thing he shouldn’t have done. The 29-year old then drove Farooq Dar across villages in a show of triumphalism.

The J&K Police filed an FIR against the Army. The Army ordered an inquiry against Major Gogoi.

Recently, he has been given a commendation for his action, from the Chief of Army Staff. Which is as it should be. Though, an unconditional apology to Farooq Dar is also called for.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NEWSD and NEWSD does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.