By Fahad Shah
The J-K police have declined to provide information regarding the awards and promotions given to its men for anti-militancy operations since 1989 to 2012 in Jammu and Kashmir.
The department’s rejection came in response to an application filed by Human Rights activist, Khurram Parvez of Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS). The RTI was submitted on 26 April, 2012 to the Department of Home, J-K government, under J&K Right to Information Act, 2009.
The State Home department, on June 2012, transferred the application to the Police Headquarters after a delay of 40 days as the JKCCS in a statement says it should have transferred the request, under section 6(3) of the act, within stipulated time of 5 days if they did not possess the information.
On June 11, 2012, the Jammu and Kashmir Police Headquarters (vide order no: CIV/RTI/79/2012/1021-23) rejected the information, giving the reason that the information falls under section 8 of the act. According to the J-K Police, the disclosure of the above asked information would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, besides it also would be threat to the security, strategic interests of the State or may lead to incitement of an offence.
Khurram Parvez in his application had asked for the number of policemen conferred with awards and promotions for killing and arresting local and foreign militants from 1989 to 2012 along with a list which should have the names of the personnel, parentage, address, designation and any identification number. The RTI application also asks for a list (with name, parentage, address, place of killing, FIR nos, and place of burials etc) of the local/foreign militants for whose killings/arrests these awards/promotions were conferred.
In a statement, the JKCCS says that this denial is an admission by the Jammu and Kashmir Police that the state does have a policy of incentivizing the arrests and killings of militants. “It has been from a long time argued by the human rights defenders that this policy of awards and promotions has encouraged the personnel of the Jammu and Kashmir Police and the personnel of Army, CRPF and BSF to carry out extra-judicial killings,” the statement says.
This denial, it further says, sustains the institutional impunity and encouragement provided by the government to the soldiers and police personnel operating in the state.
The JKCCS also says that it believes that this policy of awards and promotions for anti-militancy operations should end immediately as it continues to pose a threat to the human rights in Jammu and Kashmir. “It is alarming that the Department of Home does not keep the record of, and chose not to make a decision on such a sensitive issue which is actually their jurisdiction and has instead relied on the Police Department, a subordinate to the Home Department, for both the record and decision to provide the information.”
The JKCCS has filed the first appeal under section 16(1) of the act, urging J-K Police to provide this information as it pertains to the human rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
Earlier, in response to a RTI application by the same human rights activist, the J-K police have denied to give the information which relates to all the encounters from 1989 to 2012 in the state saying that the information asked for cannot be supplied as it falls under section 8 (1) A of the act.