T-Shirts glorifying use of human shield in Kashmir spark row

Delhi BJP spokesperson Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga has sparked national controversy six months after his online shopping company Tshirtbhaiya.com started selling T-shirts glorifying the use of a human shield in Kashmir last year by an Indian Army major.
The T-shirt in question has a representational image of a man tied to the front of a jeep. It’s an obvious reference to the incident when an alleged stone-pelter from central Kashmir was tied in front of an Army jeep last year. Major Nitin Leetul Gogoi, the officer who had done it, had said it was done to deter stone-pelters during the 2017 bypolls.
The image is also accompanied by a caption — “Indian Army saving your a** whether you like it or not”. Bagga claims he has sold thousands of them online.
The T-shirt has attracted the attention of international media due to the picture that many in India and outside have found to be in bad taste. An article dated March 25 on the website of The Express Tribune of Pakistan states the “clothing brand has launched T-shirts to make fun of the persecuted Kashmiris”. Another article by Aljazeera.com says this act has further outraged the Kashmiris who have termed it “selling the pain”.
An RSS worker since the age of four, Bagga has been a rabble-rouser and a fan of the Army. In 2011, he had attacked noted lawyer Prashant Bhushan at his chamber in Supreme Court for his comments on Kashmir. Bagga was allegedly part of a group that had tried to disrupt the launch of Arundhati Roy’s book, The Broken Republic. In the past, he was accused of defacing the walls around Pakistan High Commission and heckling separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani at an event. He is followed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and several top BJP functionaries on Twitter.
Bagga, who has drawn flak on Twitter, has also been criticised by CPI (ML) politburo member Kavita Krishnan. “Thuggish BJP leader Bagga sells Kashmir human shield T-shirt saying it’s wearing patriotism on chest. The court found Army major act of tying man to jeep unconstitutional. Celebrating the flouting of constitutional values isn’t ‘patriotic’!” Krishnan tweeted.
Bagga said it was a tribute to the officer’s “heroic act”. “He could have used guns to deter the stone-pelters but he took a heroic decision and saved the lives of many stone-pelters. Despite attempts to show the officer as a villain, he is our hero and the act of bravery should reach the masses,” Bagga said, adding that he doesn’t care about any defamation case and would continue to sell the T-shirt.