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Live shells on Tourist spot

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Tragedies have returned to the villages around Tosa Maidan meadow the former army firing range which was cleared few years back to be the tourist spot and army had cleared the area from all the live shells. On August 12, 2018, four youth from the nearby village were hit by a live shell and one of them succumbed to his injuries and three other friends are battling for their lives in the hospital. On this day hundreds of people including large number of tourists were in the meadow to celebrate the annual week of tourism in the area.

Tosa Maidan meadow was firing range for army for 49 years and finally it was cleared by army on the insistence of then Chief Minister Omar Abdullah who was keen to contest from this area as he was not sure to win from other assembly segments. As Omar Abdullah was in hurry, army cleared most of the areas around Tosa Maidan from the live shells and handed it over to the civilian government in the year 2014. On August 12, 2018 the horrors of explosions in the meadow and around it resounded when live shell exploded and killed a youth on spot while injuring several others.

Tosa Maidan meadow is attracting lot of foreign and local tourists as it has become a hot favourite for the trekking and camping in Central District of Budgam. It falls in the assembly segment of Beerwah, which was won by Omar Abdullah purely for his efforts to clear the area from army and from clearing the nearby villages from live shells. According to the villagers living around Tosa Maidan meadow, dozens of youth and old persons have lost their limbs in the explosions of live shells and dozens of villagers were killed when they accidentally were hit by these shells.

On every August 9, there is a festival held in Tosa Maidan for the promotion of tourism and it lasts for five days. The tragic explosion in which one youth identified as Wajid Ahangar of Zoogu village near the meadow was killed and his three other friends were critically injured due to the explosion of a live shell in the area.

With officials assuring that they will clear all the areas around Tosa Maidan from these live shells, in order to save the lives of children, the villagers have rightly demanded that unless it is not cleared, it should be closed for tourist traffic.

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