Bollywood hits new low as film reproduces army’s human-shield violation
By Nisar Dharma
Srinagar, Mar 31: Call it entertainment or browbeating, a just-released Bollywood movie distastefully glorifies the exploitation of Farooq Ahmad Dar as a human shield.
Dar, who had cast a vote on April 9 last year, was stopped by one Major Leetul Gogoi at Budgam and tied to the front of an army jeep as a human shield for patrolling the protesting villages.
Baaghi 2, the Bollywood movie released on Friday, has simulated the incident, with its protagonist army officer shown beating the apparent stone-throwers or militants somewhere in Kashmir.
Subsequently, he is shown tying one of them to the bonnet and driving through the crowd of men carrying stones in hands.
Included at the beginning of the movie, the scene is being described by several prominent movie critics as “insensitive” and “exceptional display of callousness”, while terming the entire movie as “high on testosterone and national pride”.
“When we meet the film’s hero–the aforementioned indiscreet stalker—he is an Army Commando in Kashmir, who ties a man to the front of his jeep and uses him as a human shield. Wow. It is the kind of thing I expected Hindi cinema to tackle at some point, but not in a Tiger Shroff film where his reasoning for this inhumanity is that somebody burned the Indian flag,” wrote Film critic Raja Sen, who gave the film a single-star rating.
Uday Bhatia, another movie critic, writing for Livemint, wrote: “Of all the ways Baaghi 2 could have declared its chest-beating love for India, it chose one of the most distasteful… Irrespective of where you stand on the moral implications of such an action (which mirrors an actual incident that took place last year in Kashmir), it takes a certain amped-up, dumbed-down outlook to appropriate it with so much glee.”
Using Dar’s human rights violation for commercial purposes and glorifying it is not the first-of-its-kind incident.
Since late last year, Delhi BJP spokesperson Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga has been selling “Major Gogoi” T-shirts to apparently promote the army’s human shield act.
The T-shirts, available on his portal, carrying a drawing in which a man, resembling Dar, is tied to the bonnet of a jeep. And the message across it reads: “Indian Army…saving your ass whether you like it or not!”
Dar through Rights Activist Ahsan Untoo has even filed a defamation case against Bagga.
The latter, on March 26, took on Twitter writing: “Heard Stone pelter Guy filed Defamation case against me and @TShirtBhaiya (Reports in Media). He can file 100 more cases, but we will not stop selling Major Gogoi T-shirt.”
On the movie’s depiction, Dar wasn’t available for his comments, however, one of his relatives told The Kashmir Monitor that he (Dar) just leaves in the morning not telling anyone where he goes and returns late in the evenings.
Ahsan, the activist, however, said that Dar was psychologically distraught.
“He has no work. The moment he looks for work, he feels he is being followed by army. He is in depression. Now these incidents are further distressing him,” said Ahsan.
He added that he will go through the movie and, if need be, file a defamation case against its producers.
To mention, J&K government has refused to comply with State Human Rights Commission asking it to compensate Dar.
Major Leetul Gogoi, on the other hand, was rewarded with a commendation medal.