CRPF refuses to reply to RTI query on use of pellet guns

In the wake of death of over 90 people and injuries to over 12,000 from use of pellet guns during the unrest in Jammu and Kashmir, the CRPF has refused to give, in response to an RTI query, details of the number of such weapons and ammunition used.

The unrest in Jammu and Kashmir was triggered on 9 July by the death of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani a day earlier in a gunfight with the security forces.

In reply to the RTI application, the Chief Public Information Officer of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) said: “Security forces, including CRPF, are exempted to provide information except for information related to allegation of corruption/violation of human rights.”

“In the instant matter, there appears to be no violations of human rights as well as facts of the case do not attract the allegations of corruption,” it said.

The reply was given to Venkatesh Nayak of Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) in December last year.

The RTI activist sought from the CRPF a clear photocopy of Standard Operating Procedures (SoPs) required to be used by the CRPF to disperse stone-pelting mobs in Jammu and Kashmir and a clear photocopy of SoPs required to be used by the CRPF to disperse large assemblages of people other than stone-pelting mobs in the state.

The query also sought the name and postal address of vendor(s) from whom anti-riot weapon, popularly known as ‘pellet guns’, and relevant ammunition were procured for use in the state, “and quantum of pellet ammunition actually used in Jammu and Kashmir from 1 July, 2016, till date”.

The RTI query demanded details of “rank-wise number of CRPF personnel who suffered injuries while conducting operations in aid of civilian authority in J&K from 1 July, 2016, till date (names are not required); rank-wise number of CRPF personnel injured during operations in aid of civilian authority in J&K who have been paid ex gratia or compensation since 1 July, 2016, till date, along with the amount of monies paid.”

“The rank-wise number of CRPF personnel promoted to higher ranks in recognition of their performance while acting in aid of civilian authority in J&K since July 2016; and erstwhile rank and rank to which each CRPF official or officer was promoted subsequently (names are not required)” were also demanded.

Ninety-two civilians have been killed and over 12,000 injured in violence since 9 July. Of the injured, around 100 face partial or complete blindness for the rest of their lives.

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