HC seeks details of compensation for Tosamaidan firing range victims

Excelsior Correspondent

SRINAGAR, Apr 20: High Court has sought a fresh affidavit from the Government detailing the compensation provided to the families of victims of formerly artillery firing range in Tosamaidan firing range for the loss caused due to artillery shelling and military exercise.
Division Bench of Chief Justice N Kotiswar Singh and Justice Moksha Kazmi directed the Principal Secretary Home Department and Deputy Commissioner Budgam to file a fresh affidavit.
The affidavit filed by DC Budgam indicates that the concerned Tehsildar has furnished a list of 34 deceased persons and the 27 injured persons (victims up to 7/2017) and the Tehsildar Khansib has also submitted the list of one deceased person and two injured showing the date of incident as 12.08.2018.
The court however had said that concerned authorities can work out the quantum of compensation which would be required to be given to the affected persons with the approval of the Government.
Court said there is no reason as to why approval should not be given for grant of compensation to the deceased/injured persons as the affidavit also does not indicate the quantum of compensation which is required to work out by the concerned authorities.
Court granted four weeks to these authorities to file a fresh affidavit indicating the steps taken for grant of compensation as the counsel for petitioner Bushra Zargar submitted before the bench that no details are mentioned in the affidavit with regard to compensation provided to the victims.
The NGO-Tosdamaidan Front has approached the court through the medium of instant PIL for the redress of grievance of the public at large, seeking appropriate writ, for providing adequate compensation in favour of the families of deceased persons, disabled, handicapped and impaired due to the negligence of respondent authorities.
Since the matter has already been decided by the court in a separate PIL and the directions as per the petitioner till date have not been complied with, the counsel representing the petitioner-NGO submitted that it has already enclosed a list of such persons who have received injuries or whose dear ones have lost their lives during firing incidents at Tosamaidan firing range.
The PIL highlights the violation and infringement of Fundamental Rights of the people living in and around Tosamaidan area of J&K, non-implementation of the directions passed by this high court by the respondents and highlighting the sufferings of the victims of formerly artillery firing range.
The Government of Jammu and Kashmir, it is pleaded, authorized the execution of military manoeuvres over the area of Tosa Maidan (Budgam) in the year 1965. Due to the field firing and artillery practice carried out by the army from 1965 to 2014 in and around Tosa Maidan, innocent people have lost their lives or been left maimed.
“The Government of Jammu and Kashmir has not taken any pre-emptive measures in dealing with leftover shells. The widows and disabled persons affected by the firing range approached the concerned Army Unit and District Development Commissioner Budgam”, reads the petition. However it is said, the officials did not take any action which has engraved the situation and brought misery upon the victims.
The earlier writ petition in public interest before the Court was finally disposed off 31/10/2017 and the respondents were directed to pay compensation to the victims. However, respondents have failed to take any action in the light of orders passed by the Court.