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Screenshot of video of Farooq Ahmad Dar being used as human shield
Screenshot of video of Farooq Ahmad Dar being used as human shield

One of the ugliest tactics in modern warfare has been the use of "human shields." From Serbia to Sri Lanka and Gaza, armed combatants have been accused of putting civilian lives at risk on the frontlines in order to protect themselves. If the enemy attacks innocent bystanders on site, it risks committing a grave human rights violation. But even if the 1949 Geneva Conventions rightly stipulates that the use of human shields itself constitutes a war crime, it is a practice that often remains in the shadows.

Last month, a horrifying video circulated on YouTube has brought the practice to light in an unprecedented way in Kashmir, another region long mired in conflict over disputed territory between India and Pakistan.

A 26-year-old local Kashmiri man was strapped onto the front hood of an Indian Army jeep, as a deterrent against anti-military protesters throwing stones. Farooq Ahmad Dar's body became a literal shield for more than six hours, while the Army convoy drove through more than 10 different villages in the region during an election-day patrol.

The incident come amid a long history of alleged human rights atrocities allegedly committed by the Indian Army in the region.

Dar, a shawl weaver, was on his way back home after voting in a special election to replace a Kashmiri representative in the Indian parliament when Indian soldiers stopped him, and proceeded to tie him to the front of a jeep, to deter people from throwing stones at the convoy. Though he was uninjured, media reports said Dar was left "traumatized" by the treatment.

Major Nitin Leetul Gogia, who was in charge of using Dar as a human shield, is currently under investigation. Still, on May 1 the Indian Army awarded him a commendation card for "his sustained distinguished service till now in counter-insurgency operations in Jammu & Kashmir," reported the Indian Express.

The national public outcry in India and protests in Kashmir over the incident come amid a long history of alleged human rights atrocities allegedly committed by the Indian Army in the region. In the summer of 2016, amid escalating violence in the Kashmir valley, the Army was accused of violating international law after using pellet guns against unarmed Kashmiri civilians.

When conflicts endure, the weapons of war know no limits.

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Jehovah's Witnesses Translate The Bible In Indigenous Language — Is This Colonialism?

The Jehovah's Witnesses in Chile have launched a Bible version translated into the native Mapudungun language, evidently indifferent to the concerns of a nation striving to save its identity from the Western cultural juggernaut.

A Mapuche family awaits for Chilean President Gabriel Boric to arrive at the traditional Te Deum in the Cathedral of Santiago, on Chile's Independence Day.

Claudia Andrade

NEUQUÉN — The Bible can now be read in Mapuzugun, the language of the Mapuche, an ancestral nation living across Chile and Argentina. It took the Chilean branch of the Jehovah's Witnesses, a latter-day Protestant church often associated with door-to-door proselytizing and cold calling, three years to translate it into "21st-century Mapuzugun".

The church's Mapuche members in Chile welcomed the book when it was launched in Santiago last June, but some of their brethren see it rather as a cultural imposition. The Mapuche were historically a fighting nation, and fiercely resisted both the Spanish conquerors and subsequent waves of European settlers. They are still fighting for land rights in Chile.

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