Littered explosives continue to kill
9 Fatalities This Year
Srinagar, July 11: With the killing of two boys in Tral area of South Kashmir last night, the fatalities by ‘unexploded ordnance’ (UXO) during the first seven months of this year in the state have gone up to nine, which include five children. The causalities have put a question mark over the sanitization being done by the forces after encounters.
According to the available details, three children of Muhammad Maqbool of Maloora on the outskirts of city were killed when they were playing with a live shell, after a gunfight in the area.
In April, two persons were killed in Akhnoor area of Jammu when a shell exploded in a scrap shop. A month later, another youth was killed in the same area in a similar incident. A labourer Abdul Hamid was killed in South Kashmir’s Islamabad (Anantnag) district when a live shell inside dead stock went off last month.
Last night, two children died in Tral, Pulwama, when they were fiddling with an explosive. Police however says that they are investigating the source of the explosive.
While the causalities by littered ammunition have triggered widespread concern, officials told Greater Kashmir that there are no hard and fast rules or Standard Operating Procedure for clearance of the encounter sites to find if any explosive has remained behind.
“There is no proper procedure for carrying out sanitization and we have hardly seen metal detectors being used for the purpose. Had the Maloora site been properly cleared, then life of three children would have been saved,” they said.
According to them, not only sanitization, but sensitization of the local population in the encounter and landmine areas would also prevent the loss of life. “The forces, particularly Jammu and Kashmir Police should direct elders to refrain their children from going to the places where encounter takes place. The children needs to be educated not to touch suspected objects,” they said.
The disarmament and rights activists assert that it is binding upon the government to clear the explosives remnants.
“Being signatory of United Nations Protocol on Explosive Remnants of War (ERW)-2003, it is the duty of the government to clear the explosives left behind during gunfights in Kashmir or elsewhere,” Binalakshmi Nepram, co-founder of Control Arms Foundation of India and member of several international groups working on disarmament and landmine ban, told Greater Kashmir over phone from New Delhi.
“The civil society groups have to wake up to pressurize government to clear the encounter areas and remnant explosives,” she said.
President of Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society, Parvez Imroze, said that forces don’t feel sense of responsibility for clearing the residual explosives, as “there is not accountability here.”
“Had these incidents taken place in other states, then there would have been hue and cry,” he added.
Inspector General of Police Kashmir, SM Sahai, said that police is investigating the cause of explosion in Tral.
Lastupdate on : Mon, 11 Jul 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 11 Jul 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 12 Jul 2011 00:00:00 IST
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