Army holds day-long anti-mining awareness camp in Kashmir (India)


The day-long awareness camp is intended to educate villagers, living along the India-Pakistan border in Jammu and Kashmir, about the landmines and claymores, that are left behind after de-mining


(08.05.2007)

Chanlaldin (Jammu and Kashmir), April 27 (April): The Indian Army recently held a mines awareness camp in Jammu and Kashmir's Chanladin Village.

The day-long awareness camp is intended to educate villagers, living along the India-Pakistan border in Jammu and Kashmir, about the landmines and claymores, that are left behind after de-mining.

The landmines had been laid in agricultural fields along the border following deployment of troops on both sides of the border in 2001-2002.

Though most of the landmines have been removed from the area, following India-Pakistan peace talks, a number of landmines which escaped the cropping procedure are still reported to be causing problems for villagers.

Army officials said that the initiative has been taken to prevent any accidental casualty in the border area.

"We are training locals to deal with mines which got left behind after de-mining due to some reasons. They should know how to deal with that mine," said Colonel Vikas Vohra of 13 Jammu and Kashmir Rifles which had organised the camp.

The villagers were told how to detect the mine and inform army and police officials.

"We have been told not to touch the mine whenever any of us locates it. Only the person knowing the procedure to defuse it can handle it. We have been told to inform the army or police if we find mines and other things. All this was very useful for us," said Gyanchand, a villager.

The soldiers have to apply extreme caution and wear protective gear which makes the entire process quite slow.

Teams of specially trained men crop every inch of the fields detecting the mines. Such operations are dangerous and complex and after eight to nine hours of patient scanning work, the soldiers manage to clear barely 200 meters of land.

Alarmingly, a landmine can last up to a century in the ground unless it is removed.

Mostly, landmines are detonated by unsuspecting persons, such as a child or farmer inflicting injuries or resulting in death. Animals, be they grazing domestic livestock or those from the wild treading on a mine also make it detonate.

Von: 27.04.2007 www.newkerala.com

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