Residents of Tossamaidan area Thursday staged protest at press enclave demanding the army firing range should be shifted out after a minor girl, Simran was killed and her brother was critically injured when a stray shell exploded near their house at Lassipora, Drang.
Inhabitants from Tosamaidan area were chanting slogans against the state government for exhibiting apathy towards their problems, and demanded the killing of innocents be ended and artillery firing stopped.
Gulzar Ahmad Dar, a protester said “we want complete vacation of the area by army and same be developed as a tourist destination”. “Our children can’t move out, we can’t take our cattle for grazing. It has ruined our livelihood” he added.
RTI activist Ghulam Rasool, who was also part of the demonstration, castigated the government for its inaction. “Before elections, Chief Minister and home secretary had promised that the government won’t be extending the lease, but till now no action has been taken by the Government” he lamented.
Protestors from the ill-fated area wanted that the land be handed over to the civil authorities and an impartial probe be initiated to unravel the reasons behind the recent killing involving minors.
Misra, resident of Tosamaidan who lost her 16 year old son Shabir Ahmad Sheikh to a stray shell few years back said “we want army to leave Tosamaidan. Our innocent children are being killed. We are scared of moving out”. “My son unknowingly stepped on a stray shell and was blasted into pieces. His body was mutilated beyond recognition” she added.
Tosamaidan has been the contentious issue between state administration and Army ever since people from the area lost their lives to the stray shells. State had leased this land to army way back in 1964 for a period of fifty years during which 64 persons lost their lives as per official data. However the residents claim that the number is around 170.
Notably police has registered an open FIR for the first time with regard to the recent killing that happened in Lassipora area of Tosamaidan.