Unexploded mortar left by paramilitary kills 2 children in India

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This article is available in Pilipino

Two children were killed and several others injured when a mortar left by Indian state paramilitaries exploded in Odspara, Bijapur, Chhattisgarh on May 12. The mortar was among several cannon rounds that misfired when Indian military forces shelled the said area’s forests.

About 20 children and adults from the Gurga community were collecting tendu leaves near the Indravati river in Odspara when the incident occurred. While picking leaves, the children were throwing stones when they hit a mortar which resulted in its sudden detonation. The victimes were identified as Laxman and Boti Oyam.

“The deaths of these children highlight the dark reality of Bastar becoming a warzone in the name of [India’s] fight against Maoism,” said the Forum Against Corporatization and Militarization (FACAM), an alliance of democratic organizations in India. The group said the residents had anticipated the possibility of tragedy and they had repeatedly demanded the police to recover mortar rounds that has misfired.

FACAM condemned the Indian state for diverting the blame to the Communist Party of India (Maoist). The Indian reactionary state claims that the children died from the “improvised explosive device” of the CPI (Maoist). FACAM said the residents clearly stated that state paramilitaries were responsible for the tragedy.

The community people said the remnants of the mortar resembled those which detonated in the same community on April 13. Raje Oyam, an Adivasi farmer woman, died in this shelling. Ramesh Oyam was also shot dead by state forces that day while bathing in the Indravati river.

“Cannon bullets scattered in the forest pose a great threat to the lives and culture of the Adivasi,” FACAM said. They are in put in danger when they seek livelihood in the forest, the group said.

FACAM demands that the paramilitary forces and the Indian state stop using cannons and aerial bombing. “An immediate investigation must be done into the deaths of the children caused by the negligence of the Indian state,” they concluded.

AB: Unexploded mortar left by paramilitary kills 2 children in India