Vacate Tosamaidan or face agitation

SRINAGAR: Threatening of mass agitation if Jammu and Kashmir government extends lease of Tosmaidan meadow to the Indian Army various social organizations Saturday staged a protest demonstrations in Srinagar.

Hundreds of protestors carrying banners and placards amid slogans threatened to come on streets if the government failed to come clean on the issue.

The protestors including RTI activists, Sarpanchas and Panchas and people from different walks of life said that the local population has been adversely affected by explosions with effect on their socio-economic activities like education, health and environment. They demanded that the area be opened as a health resort.

“The field is not only used for artillery exercises and training by Army, the Indian Air Force also utilizes the range for practicing air-to-ground bombing,” Sheikh Ghulam Rasool, President RTI Movement.

He said that that around 70 deaths have occurred in the area due to littered ordnance till date. “Since 1965 till date, around 70 persons have lost their lives and 41 received injuries due to littered shells in Tosa Maidan. We strongly oppose extension of lease and demand the dance of death should be stopped.” He said that under Supreme Court directions the area falling within 10 kilometers of wild life sanctuary has been declared sensitive while the Tosa Maidan is just 3 kilometers away from local sanctuary.

“If the lease is extended one again, it will give birth to Amarnath-like agitation. We request people from all walks of life to support our cause, which is purely humanitarian,” said protestors adding that all the panchayat members of this area will resign if lease agreement is extended in favour of Army.

They said that if the lease agreement is extended to the army for firing purposes the people from 52 villages of this area will have a sit in at the place of shelling. “We demand complete shifting of this firing range from the government and we will continue our fight till Tosamaidan is vacated,” they said. 

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