|New Delhi, Oct 21, IANS:|
|The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Thursday held the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) responsible for the killing of eight civilians in a live bomb explosion in 2002 in Orissa.|
|It asked the DRDO to pay Rs.3 lakh as compensation to the family members of each of those killed.
The human rights body said that based on reports provided by the defence ministry, it observed that the bomb which exploded and killed eight people at Chandipur range in Balasore district of Orissa July 26, 2002, was picked up from the testing range area of DRDO.
The commission directed the defence secretary to submit the compliance report along with proof of payment within eight weeks from the order.
“The commission noted there was some negligence on part of the Army personnel in collection of all the shells fired during the test firing at the range. Also, there does not appear to be any proper arrangement for preventing access to the site by the villagers who gather used shells for extracting metal out of the same and this is to the knowledge of the authorities concerned,” the NHRC noted.
According to NHRC, the DRDO, in response to the show-cause notice of the commission, said Sep 13, 2010, that the incident in question cannot be attributed to the DRDO since no such incident was brought to its notice.
“It also said that it is not possible to enclose the range area by fencing and possibility of a shell getting lost may be there despite efforts to collect 100 percent shells during the test firing,” it said.
The commission found DRDO’s stand as contradictory and said that it is strange that the DRDO remained oblivious of this incident till 2009 despite the news report and the first notice in the matter issued by the commission to the defence ministry’s secretary on Dec 19, 2002.
“The commission is of the considered view that the incident in question took place due to negligence at some point of time on part of DRDO officials in collecting shells and, hence, the affected persons must be compensated,” it said.