One killed by mortar explosion in Army firing range

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HT Correspondent

PASIGHAT, Aug 10: A man identified as Bapianglum Tailu (51) died after an unexploded mortar exploded in the Indian Army’s Ballaliang firing range in Lohit district in Arunachal Pradesh on Thursday.

Sources said that Indian Army’s 82nd Mountain Brigade has been on a weeklong heavy mortar firing exercise in the area. Though the army issued a standing prohibitory notice against civilian movement near the firing range, their negligence has apparently been exposed as there is reportedly no fencing around the firing range.

It is reported that the deceased might have unknowingly stepped on one of the misfired mortars that lay strewn near the stream inside the Indian Army’s firing range.

Quoting information of Tezu Police, news agencies have reported that Tailu was going to his agriculture field along with his son Jinikso Tailu (18) when the incident occurred at around 4 pm.

The deceased sustained multiple injuries, including head injuries near the right eye, leading to his death on the spot, while his son sustained minor injuries in the incident.

The police have registered an unnatural death case, and the matter is under investigation, according to State police.

It is reported that a similar incident had occurred during April 2014 when a 13-year-old boy was hit to dead by mortar near the firing range. As per report, about seven people have lost their lives inside the firing range over the past two decades. It is also reported that the Indian Army often leaves misfired mortars and other explosive devices in the firing range without defusing them.

Same tragedy was ensued at Indian Air Force bombing site at Dollungmukh in Kamle district during early June this year. One Bini Todum, a retired SSB soldier sustained serious injury when an Indian Air Force (IAF) fighter plane dropped a bomb during one of its regular drills over Ruyu village near the bombing range. Moreover, six domesticated Mithuns were got killed in such incident.

Report from Tezu said that the local people submitted representations to the district administration on several occasions, seeking relocation of the firing zone as it is close to civilian-inhabited areas. However, their demands have not yielded any result so far.

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