Srinagar, Apr 9 (PTI) A year after embroidery artisan Farooq Ahmed Dar was used as a “human shield” by the Army in Jammu and Kashmir, former Jawaharlal Nehru University student leader Shehla Rashid today said Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti should stand up for its people.

“He (Dar) was out to cast his vote… A year later he is yet to come out of trauma. There is no doubt the chief minister (Mehbooba) is legitimately elected, but we expect her to stand up for the people,” Rashid told reporters here.

On this day last year, a team led by Major Leetul Gogoi tied Dar to the bonnet of an Army jeep to escape heavy stone pelting in central Kashmir’s Budgam district, the image going on to make global headlines and spotlighting once again the civilian-security polarisation in the Valley.

Rashid also condemned police action against students during protests against civilian killings in Shopian last week and appealed to the authorities to allow student elections in the state.

“There are apprehensions about this or that happening if these elections are held. Nothing of that sort is going to happen… These students are intelligent. They should be allowed to debate and discuss the future,” the former JNU students’ union vice-president said.

Rashid said the state government should take strong action against those who were trying to give a communal colour to the rape-and-murder case of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua district.

“BJP is trying to polarise the situation for votes… We appeal to the chief minister to take strong action against those organising rallies in support of Kathua rape-and-murder accused. How are they organising such rallies when we had to run around to get permission for holding this press conference?” she asked.

She said political leaders repeatedly tell people to give up violence, but the State should do too.

“The State keeps on telling everyone to give up violence, but it should also give up the violence. Why are they not able to come up with a surrender policy? Why is the gun first response?” she asked.

The State should make a distinction between militants, who have picked up arms, and those who have not indulged in any violence, she added.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.