Srinagar: The J&K State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has termed the death of a girl and injuries to her brother due to littered shell explosion in a village near army’s Tosmaidan firing range in central Budgam district as “sheer human rights violation.”
On Monday, 9-year-old Simran Akhtar and her 5-year-old brother Fayaz Ahmad from Lassipora, Drang were playing in the fields when they fiddled with a littered shell which exploded, leaving both of them in a pool of blood. When people rushed to the spot, Simran was already dead while Fayaz had received critical injuries losing both of his limbs.
Taking suo-moto cognizance of the media reports, a bench of SHRC’s acting chairman Rafiq Fida observed that they prima facie make out a case of serious and grave human rights violations.
“Nobody is allowed to play with the lives of people in Kashmir like this. Army is a disciplined force which can never be expected to litter live shells like a trash of paper anywhere and particularly in the residential areas,” the Commission said, underlining it as one of their incumbent duties to clear all the explosive remnants from the firing range and its adjacent areas “so that any unfortunate accident of loss of life, be it human or cattle, are averted.”
“But the incidents like the present ones speak volumes about how the officers of the concerned army unit(s) are negligent in taking care of live shells and leave the same abandoned in the adjacent areas of the firing range as a result of which such incidents as have been reported by the newspapers are bound to take place.”
Terming it “sheer violation of human rights”, the SHRC issued notices to Director General of J&K Police, Deputy Commissioner Budgam and concerned army unit through 56 APO with a direction to submit their detailed factual reports in the matter.
Tosmaidan is a vast beautiful pasture located under the foothills of Pir Panjal mountain range in Khag-Khansahib area of Budgam. From mid-1965, the meadow has been used as a firing range by the Artillery Regiment of Indian army, and according to officials, unexploded shells in and around Tosmaidan firing range have killed and maimed around 65 people so far.