A 51-year-old villager Bapianglum Tailu reportedly died after an unexploded mortar went off in the Indian Army’s Ballaliang firing range near Loiliang village under Tezu police station in Lohit district of Arunachal Pradesh late on Thursday.
Sources said that the deceased might have unknowingly stepped on one of the misfired mortars. Police in Tezu informed that Tailu was going to his agriculture field along with his 18-year-old son Jinikso Tailu.
According to police, Jinik Tailu found his father lying in a pool of blood after he heard the sound of explosion.
While Jinik Tailu sustained minor injuries in his right hand, his father succumbed to his injuries.
The police have registered an unnatural death case at Tezu police station under section 174 CrPC and the matter is under investigation.
It is reported that a similar incident had occurred in April 2014 when a 13-year-old boy was found dead near the firing range. It was believed that the boy stepped on an unexploded mortar and was killed on the spot.
Residents of the area said so far seven people have lost their lives inside the firing range over the past two decades.
Sources said that the Indian Army’s Tezu based 82 Mountain Brigade which comes under the Dinjan based 2 Mountain Division has been on a week-long heavy mortar firing exercise in the area.
Though the army issued a standing prohibitory notice against civilian movement near the firing range, their negligence has apparently been exposed as there is reportedly no fencing around the firing range.
It is also reported that the Indian Army often leaves misfired mortars and other explosive devices in the firing range without defusing them.
The residents said the firing range is just 100 metres away from Gairi village. The people reportedly submitted representations to the district administration on several occasions, seeking relocation of the firing zone as it is close to civilian-inhabited areas.
However, their efforts have not yielded any result so far.