Separatist leaders blame gvt for childrens'' death in explosion

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Srinagar, Feb 14 (PTI) Hardline Hurriyat Conferenceleader Syed Ali Shah Geelani today blamed the government andsecurity forces for the death of three children in anaccidental explosion in a village in Malroo on the outskirtsof Srinagar.

"Had the area been made clear of the explosives, thistragedy could have been avoided and three innocent childrenwould not have been killed," Geelani said in a statement.

Three siblings - Noor Mohammad (10), Bismah (8) andMuskaan (4) - were killed when a shell which they had broughtto their house exploded last night.

According to preliminary investigation, the children hadfound the unexploded shell from the debris of a house that wasrazed by security forces during a gun battle with militants inMalroo area, 12 kms from here, in October last year.

Geelani said the army had "full knowledge" about theexistence of explosives in the rubble of the house where "amysterious encounter" took place last year.

He said it was the responsibility of the police and armyto clear the area of the explosives.

Police had claimed to have killed three militants aftersecurity forces blasted two houses where militants werebelieved to be hiding.

Geelani appealed to Amnesty International and UNICEF totake "serious notice" of the incident and use their influenceto bring to justice those responsible for the "killing" ofthree children.

Meanwhile, moderate Hurriyat Chairman Mirwaiz UmerFarooq, in a statement from United States, expressed "deepsadness" on the death of the three children.

JKLF Chief Yasin Malik also blamed the government for thechildren''s death, saying "it was the government''sresponsibility to clear the area (of explosives) after amilitary operation".

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