‘Live’ shells endangering life of villagers in LoC areas

Dozens of live shells found, destroyed in last few months Army, Police focus on awareness camps for villagers
A senior army officer, wishing not to be named, said, “Awareness about such live shells has always been a priority for us and awareness camps are organised on a regular basis”.
A senior army officer, wishing not to be named, said, “Awareness about such live shells has always been a priority for us and awareness camps are organised on a regular basis”.Special arrangement

Rajouri: Even nineteen months after the ceasefire on the Line of Control (LoC), live shells, scattered here and there, pose threat to the life of villagers in the areas on and along the Line of Control (LoC) in the twin border districts of Rajouri and Poonch.

According to officials, dozens of such shells were found and destroyed by the forces in the past few months.

Heavily guarded Line of Control between India and Pakistan witnessed skirmishes till February, 2021 when the armies of two nations renewed the pledge to follow the ceasefire agreement.

Since then, not even a single incident of ceasefire violation has been reported from any sector on the LoC, thus giving a big respite to the local population here.

However, amid silence of guns, a constant threat for villagers in these areas persists in the form of live shells, lying here and there in LoC villages. They can trigger loss of both life and property, in case of minor fiddling which can cause an explosion.

“Around one dozen such live shells were found and later destroyed in the last five to six months. Fortunately none of these recovered shells exploded. These live shells were seen by villagers in open areas or in their fields after which they informed nearby police stations or army camps. Thereafter the security forces launched operations to destroy these shells through a controlled mechanism performed by bomb disposal squad of army or police,” officials said.

They added that more such live shells could be lying in villages along LoC.

“You cannot deny that these are death traps lying in villages and a minor fiddling with these shells can cause explosions resulting in losses. But fortunately not even a single such explosion has been reported so far in the last several months,” the officials further added.

On being asked about the source of these shells, officials said, “Whenever shelling takes place on the Line of Control, one to two percent of fired mortar shells do not explode due to technical reasons. They are considered as live shells, which contain explosive material and these shells can explode anytime in case of minor fiddling.”

Sarpanch from Deeing Kalal panchayat of Nowshera, Romesh Choudhary told Greater Kashmir that he had assumed office around three and half years ago. “Since then around ten such live shells have been found in my panchayat located along the LoC,” he informed.

He said, “The villagers in LoC areas are aware enough not to fiddle with such objects but there always remains a risk vis-a-vis children, who do not have much knowledge and have many a time fiddle with such shells causing explosions.”

A senior army officer, wishing not to be named, said, “Awareness about such live shells has always been a priority for us and awareness camps are organised on a regular basis”.

“We have organised more than one dozen awareness camps in LoC villages of Rajouri district in the last one year or so and this awareness drive is going on continuously,” the officer said.

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