Srinagar: A young man is tied to an army jeep that moves in a convoy in a widely-shared video from Kashmir that has sparked anger. The man was a protester who was used as a shield against his stone-throwing comrades on the day of the violence-hit Srinagar by-election, the army claims.
Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah was among the many Twitter users who reacted with outrage.
"This young man was TIED to the front of an army jeep to make sure no stones were thrown at the jeep? This is just so shocking!," Omar Abdullah tweeted.
Many videos have emerged on social media since April 9, when by-polls were held for the Srinagar parliamentary constituency. The army says this video was filmed when a group of polling officers trying to escape a polling station faced a mob of stone-throwers. "They would have been lynched by 400 people," the sources said, saying that the man tied to the fender of the jeep acted as a shield and was not harmed.
An Army Quick Reaction Team was called in to help the group. As the crowd reportedly swelled ominously in size, a group of 15 army men led by a young officer appeared to be hopelessly outnumbered, the sources say.
"They were sure to be lynched there since the crowd size increased and opening fire would have resulted in a blood bath. To defend themselves, the Company Commander caught hold of a protestor and tied him to his jeep," sources said.
The army and polling officers reportedly then left the area safely without any more stone throwing and the protester was handed over to the police.
Eight people died and nearly 100 were injured in unprecedented violence during the Srinagar by-polls held in the shadow of threats and a boycott call by separatists. Electronic Voting Machines or EVMs were damaged and burnt and the voters' turnout was the worst in 30 years.
An earlier video that went viral online showed a mob kicking and slapping a jawan of the Central Reserve Police Force or CRPF, who keeps walking without reacting to any provocation.
"The ruffians have been identified and will be proceeded against. I admire the patience of the jawans. Any armed force of this world would have reacted with the use of force in such high provocation," SP Vaid, top Jammu and Kashmir police officer, told NDTV.
"If they had opened fire and lost their cool, so many would have lost their lives...parents would have lost their children."