Nepali Times Asian Paints
From The Nepali Press
Mined land



There has been a marked increase in the use of landmines in Nepal since the Maoist insurgency began in Nepal. A recent report by the Campaign Against Landmines, Nepal says that the use of landmines targeting humans has doubled in recent years. In 2001, 210 people were injured and 214 died in 424 incidents of landmine explosions. In 2000, 84 were injured and 94 died. In 1999, 94 were injured and 40 died, while in 1998, 34 people were injured and 20 people killed in explosions.

The people most affected, especially since the peace talks fell apart and the use of landmines started increasing, have been innocent children, students and farmers. The government maintains that the Maoists have been making landmines at home, after acquiring equipment, detonators, explosives and weapons from the People's War Group and the Maoist Communist Centre, both in India.

In 2002 February, two children died and six people were injured when landmines laid by police in Achham went off. Another person was injured in Rukum when a landmine laid by army personnel went off. The government continues to deny the use of landmines by security forces, but Purna Shova Chitrakar, coordinator of the campaign against landmines, says it is highly probable that the security forces lay landmines around their camps.

A landmine costs between Rs 25 to Rs 800 to make, and treatment of a person injured by one, Rs 10,000 to Rs 200,000. In the last two years, the Birendra Army Hospital has asked for Rs 9.3 million to treat people injured by landmines. The government has so far allocated Rs 3.4 million.

A report released by the government records 2,456 incidents of landmine explosions between February 1996 and June 2000, which have killed 1,366 people. The use of landmines, which began in Rolpa, has spread to 37 districts by 2000. By December 2001, 71 districts were affected. Of the seven SAARC nations, only Bangladesh and Maldives have signed the Ottawa Convention which prohibits the manufacture, use and transport of landmines targeting humans. A total of 135 nations have endorsed the convention.


LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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