While India witnessed more improvised explosive devices (IEDs) blasts than Syria and Afghanistan in 2014, Jammu and Kashmir has become home to the highest number of handicapped population in India, according to a report released by an international non-government organisation (NGO) on Wednesday.
The report, which was funded by the European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection and carried out by the Handicap International, painted a grim picture of the mainland India, especially Jammu and Kashmir. “India figured worse than Syria and Afghanistan in the year 2014 where it witnessed 190 improvised explosive devices (IED), which included 96 blasts in Maoists insurgency areas and 19 in Kashmir,” said Mehran Khan, project manager of the Handicap International. According to the recent report published by the Landmine & Cluster Munition Monitor, a total of 3,143 (1,074 killed and 2,068 injured) casualties have been reported by end of 2012 in Jammu and Kashmir. A total of 3.6 lakh population (2.87% of the population), highest in the country, is handicapped in J&K.
“During operation Parakram around two million mines were planted and around 840 army personnel lost life in Jammu and Kashmir as per the official records,” said Khurram Pervez, coordinator of J-K Coalition of Civil Society, which released a groundbreaking report on unmarked graves in north Kashmir a few years ago.
The operation Parakram, under which army and ammunition was mobilized to the borders near Pakistan, was started by India immediately after the Parliament was attacked on December 13, 2001.
The report pointed out that the major use of antipersonnel mines and anti-vehicles mines took place between December 2001 to July 2012, when the army deployed an estimated two million mines along the northern and western border with Pakistan during the operation Parakram.
“Antipersonnel mines and anti-vehicles mines were laid on cultivated lands of villages which directly affected more than 6,000 families across 21 villages,” said the report. “Only 96 percent de-mining has been carried out so far in Jammu and Kashmir,” said Khan.
A total of 78 casualties from mines, IEDs and other Explosive Remnants of War (ERWs) were reported in 2012, which is higher than the casualties reported in 2011 at 51, showing an upward trend.The report said during the meetings with army officials it was confirmed that the army sees a need for Mine Risk Education and Mine Risk Awareness.
“Even if people already know the danger and where the mines are situated, they do not know about the safe practices and do not know how to report properly a dangerous object when found,” pointed out the report.