Just like any other kid of his age, Yash, a 10-year-old boy from Ramkumarpura village, Rajasthan would spend his day studying and playing. Little did he know that his life would be upside down in the span of a single afternoon.
On 4 December, Yash was playing in the fields near his family’s agricultural land. There is mine close to this area. When he felt hungry, he started plucking fruits from the berry trees lining the edge of the property. Something on the ground caught his eye. It looked like a Diwali cracker but was much bigger. Intrigued by it, he picked it up and brought it home. Once at home, he saw that there was a wick to it, again, just like his Diwali crackers. Excited, he placed it in the yard and lit it with an incense stick. Before he could understand what happened, there was a loud blast, and Yash lost his thumb and two fingers.
What Yash found on the ground was not a Diwali bomb, but a stick of dynamite.
His parents rushed him to the hospital located 10 km away from his village. His father reported this case to the police station and asked them to file a FIR. The Police requested the parents to get reports from a doctor. Even when the parents got the medical reports, police was reluctant to register a complaint. They blamed the parents and said that they should have kept an eye on their child. It was only after the intervention from the local social workers that they finally registered a FIR under Section 367 of the IPC and 9B of the Explosives Act. This was on 7 December. Three days after the incident.
Gandhi Fellowship alumnus Pradeep brought the incident to light by on his Facebook page.
Stone Mines in Ramkumarpura
Mines surround Ramkumarpura in Jhunjhun district of Rajasthan. There are at least eight active mine sites within a 5 km radius of the village. They are mostly stone and clay mines, and regularly carry out blasting activities.
Pradeep said to The Logical Indian, “The mines are not only close to the village, but they are also dangerously close to the school in the village. GUPS Likayatawali is the best government school on the block and has 150 students. One of the sites is less than 500m from it. The lives of the children are at risk because of the dust and pollution. The regular blasting is polluting the water and air. It is also causing health problems for the villagers. Houses are getting cracked because of the intensity of the blasts. The mine owners say they have a lease for 20 years. I am scared to think of the consequences in this period. More than 1000 people are affected by the activities. The villagers have been requesting the government to stop but to no avail. Some rich people and politicians have stakes in the mines. So they are not doing anything. We will keep fighting for this issue.”
Points to Ponder
- In a place with so many mines nearby, why is the closest accessible medical centre is 10 km away from the village?
- Why has the government given permission for mining activities to take place so close to civilian places? These areas are not mining settlements to say that miners and their families are living there. They are farmers whose crops are also severely affected due to the dust.
- What is the option for the people? Will they be rehabilitated in future?
We agree that parents should monitor their children. But it still does not excuse the careless attitude of the mining companies to leave live dynamites around the village. They are health and environmental hazards. The companies should be penalised for endangering civilian lives.
The Logical Indian requests authorities to take prompt action to help Yash and the other villagers.