11-year-old fiddles with left over shell, dies

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HANDWARA: An 11-year-old student was killed and his mother injured when the boy started fiddling with a live shell in Ladoora village on Friday morning.

Police said that the boy had picked the explosive device from Ganai Mohalla where an encounter had taken place between government forces and militants on Wednesday. A local militant associated with the Lashkar-e-Islam and an army man was killed in the encounter.

Locals said that they heard a big blast at a house in the village in the morning, and when they reached near the house a young boy, identified as Junaid Ahmad Dar, and his mother were lying injured inside the house. Both the son and his mother were taken to the hospital where boy succumbed to the injuries. While, the mother is being treated for splinter injuries, doctors have stated her position stable.

“Junaid was a student of Darul Uloom Zadoora, not far away from his native village. A day after encounter on Thursday he came to see his family and found the shell at the encounter site. 

According to the reports received. Junaid took the shell to his home and started playing with it on the roof top of his house, where it went off. The explosion created panic in the area. It not only resulted into the death of minor but also damaged a portion of the house,” eyewitnesses said.

Soon after the incident, thousands of people from Ladoora and its adjacent areas staged protest and amid anti-government slogans blocked Ladoora-Baramulla road for hours. The protesters alleged that the forces don’t bother to sanitize the encounter sites from unexploded shells. “The government forces instead of clearing the encounter sites from shells and live grenades always pose before mobile cameras along with the slain militants. We directly hold Army responsible for the death of this minor boy,” the protesters said.

A Defence Ministry spokesperson NN Joshi said that after every encounter Army sanitizes the whole area. “We have to investigate the matter to ascertain the facts,” he said.

The unexploded shells have claimed several lives all across Jammu and Kashmir in the past. 

In May 2014,  a minor girl Simran Reyaz  was killed while her brother lost her leg when an unexploded shell went off in Drang village near Tosamaidan Budgam. 

Two scrap dealers Abdul Salam Tantray and Muhammad Yousuf Malik were killed in 2009 in Shinglipora village in Budgam district  in the similar incident and again in the 2010  twelve year old Tufail Ahmad died on the spot when an explosive device went off  at MohallaChandyal in Sangoit area of Mendhar in Poonch. In the same year, a minor Iftikar Ahmed died and his brother Shaukat Hussain sustained injuries while fiddling with a live grenade at a firing range in Berda village in Mendhar tehsil of Poonch.

Last month, two minor brothers Bilal Ahmed Reshi and Shakir Ahmad Reshi died after an unexploded shell went off at hillock near Sainik School Mansbal in district Ganderbal. —-With inputs from the CNS

POLICE BLAMES RESIDENTS

“A police party had gone to Ladoora to scrutinize the area for any explosives that might have remained in the area but the locals pelted stones at them and forced them to retrieve,” a police officer said.

“They started to clear the area on their own and the kid took the device to home as result of the action by locals and they are to be blamed for it,” the officer added. GNS

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