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Cover Photograph, Landmine Monitor Report 2003

Landmine Monitor 2003 Cover Photograph

Caption: On 4 June 2002, eleven-year-old Kiran Dip was grazing her family’s goats near her home village in Rajasthan province, India, when lost her right foot in a mine explosion. The antipersonnel mine was one of millions laid by the Indian Army along the border with Pakistan after December 2001.

Credit: Mr. Suresh Dhingra, Suresh Studio, Sri Ganganagar, Rajasthan, 20 December 2002.

Usage: This photo can only be used as the Landmine Monitor Report 2003 cover. Can not be used as an alone standing photograph. No cropping of the image should be performed when used on other websites. Please contact Landmine Monitor if in doubt.

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Detailed information

It was about 2pm in the afternoon on 4 June 2002, when eleven-year old Kiran Dip took her family’s seven goats to graze in a field near their house. One of the goats walked under some barbed wire erected by the Indian Army in two rows 3-5 feet from ground. When Kiran realized, she followed and retrieved the goat, but as she came back under the wire she stepped on landmine, which severed her right foot in the blast. Still conscious, she crawled out from under the barbed wire.

Villagers heard the blast and came running to the scene. They found Kiran without her foot, bleeding profusely. She was taken home and from there an ambulance took her to a state hospital in Kirnapur, where she received basic medical treatment. She was then transported to a hospital in Sri Ganganagar, capital of the district, where her foot was amputated.

Kiran belong to very poor family. She is the eldest of five children. Her father, Mr. Milkha Singh, works as a farm laborer earning US$32 (1,500 Indian rupees) per month. After recuperating, Kiran has now returned to school in her village, where she is in Standard 3. Her medical expenses in the hospitals were provided for free, but she has not received an artificial limb. Instead she uses a walking stick. She has received US$107 (5,000 Indian rupees) in compensation from the Rajasthan government authority for her injury.

Kiran lost her foot to an Indian-manufactured antipersonnel mine, most likely a copy of the US-designed M14 blast mine. Between 8-10 agricultural fields around her village were mined by the Indian Army in January 2002, after the 13 December attack on the Indian Parliament. The village is located seven kilometers from the border with Pakistan. The Army put up barbed wire when the landmines were planted, but according to Kiran and the villagers, did not erect no other marking or signs. After Kiran’s incident, marking signs were erected. As there were no signs when she entered the minefield, Kiran said she did not understand the meaning of the barbed wire.

Approximately 350 people reside in the village, named “15 O” in Sri Karanpur sub-district, Sri Ganganagar district, in Rajasthan province, India. Kiran is the only human landmine casualty, but many domestic animals, such as cows and goats, have been killed or injured by the mines. In March 2003, the Indian Army commenced demining of the mined areas around Kiran's village. The mines were removed and destroyed together in a series of explosions, which created large cracks in many of the village’s mud houses. The villagers are not sure that each and every mine was removed by the Army, as in nearby villages and the state of Punjab numerous mine incidents have occurred in agriculture fields that the Army states it has cleared. The owners of the mined land received three crops (a summer crop of wheat and mustard seed in April 2002, and two winter crops or cotton in November 2001 and 2002) in compensation from the government.

On 2 Sept 1999, India became a State Party to Amended Protocol II of the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW). Under Article 5 of the protocol, India must provide effective exclusion of civilians from areas containing non-remotely-delivered antipersonnel mines.[1] Kiran's incident and reports of other civilian casualties in India following the 2001 mine laying call into question the effectiveness of the measures taken to protect Indian civilians from the effects of mines.

[1] Article 5, paragraph 2: It is prohibited to use weapons to which this Article applies which are not in compliance with the provisions on self-destruction and self-deactivation in the Technical Annex, unless: (a) such weapons are placed within a perimeter-marked area which is monitored by military personnel and protected by fencing or other means, to ensure the effective exclusion of civilians from the area. The marking must be of a distinct and durable character and must at least be visible to a person who is about to enter the perimeter-marked area.