CRPF turns down query on guns, pellets used in Kashmir unrest

KT NEWS SERVICE. Dated: 1/9/2017 12:45:30 AM

SRINAGAR, Jan 8: CRPF has refused to divulge details about the number of pellet guns and ammunition used in Kashmir during last year’s civilian unrest.
Venkatesh Nayak of Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) in December last year had sought these details under Right to Information Act. He wanted to find out details about the sale and the efficacy of anti-riot weapons, particularly pellet guns, which have caused severe injuries to hundreds of youth in various parts of Jammu and Kashmir.
“Both the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) and the First Appellate Authority (FAA) of the Khadki Ordnance Factory (OFK) rejected my request for information about the quantum of sale of anti-riot weapons such as pellet guns to security personnel on grounds of national security and commercial confidence,” said Nayak.
He added that FAA clearly stated in his order that OFK was not manufacturing the pellet guns being used by security agencies across the country but only the ammunition. “He also held that OFK did not have any reports about the efficacy of such ammunition, especially, their impact on human beings. Now the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) which actually uses such weapons for dealing with protesters has denied access to all information about the action taken in J&K since July 2016,” Nayak added.
In reply to the Right to Information 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 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 July 1, 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 July 1, 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.



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