Clean Or Close Tosa Maidan: SHRC

SRINAGAR — Tosa Maidan, the meadow in central Kashmir’s Budgam district which was used as artillery firing range for over fifty years by army before vacating it in 2014 following expiry of lease, cannot be allowed to become a death trap for children, the State Human Rights Commission said on Tuesday.   

While hearing a Suo Motto complaint regarding death of one person and four other injured in a mine-blast at the Tosa Maidan recently, the Commission observed: “earlier dealt with a similar matter where a girl got killed and her brother lost both legs by blast in same Tosa Maidan. This Maidan cannot be allowed to become a death trap for children.”

 Either it should be closed or cleaned, SHRC chairman Justice (retd) Bilal Nazki said. “The Commission expects that foolproof steps will be made in cleaning Tosa Maidaan, so that there is no such incident in future,” the SHRC said, adding, “The Commission also expects that necessary relief will be provided to the NOKs of the deceased and also to the injured persons”. 

The commission directed the Chief Secretary to file a report within six weeks and the posted the case for next hearing on November 8.  

 The Tosamaidan was used as firing range in state which expired in 2014. The Army had been using the meadow for artillery firing range for over five decades since 1964 and the government’ decision against extending the lease followed stiff public resentment.

Nearly 50 residents living around the Tosa Maidan meadow are said to have lost their lives while hundreds of others were rendered crippled for life allegedly to stray or unexploded shells left by the army.

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