Tosamaidan blast: RTIM says Defence Ministry mislead NGT

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Srinagar

As another blast of an unexploded shell killed one civilian and left two others injured,  Kashmir RTI Movement said they had informed the  National Green Tribunal (NGT) about the existence of lethal shells but the Tribunal was misled by the Defence Ministry. NGT was hearing the case of RTI Movement about the existence of live shells in the meadow.

Unexploded explosions shells at Tosamaidan.

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) had directed the Army through the Ministry of Defence to ensure that the meadow is clean before August 10, 2016. “Unfortunately this order was not at all respected and not a single team visited Tosamaidan until the whole meadow became inaccessible due to recent snowfall. The fresh blast that killed a civilian has exposed the claims of Defence Ministry.” the RTI Movement said in a statement here.

“The Ministry of Defence earlier submitted before NGT that they have cleared the meadow from firing equipment’s and disposal in 2014 under its Mission Fallah. The counsel of Defence Ministry further stated before the Tribunal (NGT) that they would clear the entire field from any waste and explosive remnants expeditiously and in any case not later than August 10,” the statement added.

“We dispose of this application with a direction to the Respondents (Army through  Ministry of Defence)  to ensure that the field is not only clean but is kept clean and free for any waste and environmentally and ecologically friendly. All steps should be taken prior to 10th August 2016,” the NGT’s July 11, 2016 order said.

“The explosion that took place in Tosamaidan area which claimed a precious life makes it clear that Ministry of Defence (MoD) has lied before National Green Tribunal (NGT). We will again move to NGT and demand action against the Defence Ministry “ said Dr Raja Muzaffar Bhat Chairman of RTI Movement.

On June 24, 2016, RTI volunteers went to Tosamaidan and took photographs of these live mortar shells. To ensure these pictures were authenticated and taken around that particular date, we kept a copy of June 24, 2016 edition of  Greater Kashmir newspaper just adjacent to the live shells. These photographs were submitted before the National Green Tribunal (NGT) as an evidence.

However, the defence ministry counsel insisted the meadow was cleared off all the shells already.

On August 12, a live shell exploded leaving three persons injured. The slain young man was identified as Wajid Ahmad Ahanger son of Bashir Ahmad Ahanger, a  resident of Zoogu Khairan Beerwah. His two colleagues  Waseem Ahmad  Ganai son of Abdul Majeed Ganai and Mudasir Ahmad Ganai son of Ramzan Ganai are struggling to live. They also belong to the same village.

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