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Disclose info of missing Kashmiris: CIC to BSF

The Central Information Commission today directed the BSF to provide all information about a youth who went missing from Kashmir in 1990, while deciding on the first RTI application about missing youths from the valley.



New Delhi: The Central Information Commission
today directed the BSF to provide all information about a
youth who went missing from Kashmir in 1990, while deciding on
the first RTI application about missing youths from the
valley.

Border Security Force is exempted from disclosing
information under the transparency law but Chief Information
Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah termed the allegation of
disappearance of the youth as the "violation" of human rights.

"Nevertheless it is conceded by all parties that in
the present case the request is an allegation of disappearance
in custody of a civilian working in a government department in
the state of Jammu and Kashmir, and therefore amounts to an
allegation of human rights violation, which makes the BSF
answerable," Habibullah said in his order.

The case relates to the suspected disappearance from
police custody of Mohammad Ashraf Yatoo of Badipora, Chadoora
who went missing after allegedly being arrested by
paramilitary personnel in December 1990 during a crackdown.

Acting on the complaint of a Kashmir-based RTI activist
Raja Muzaffar Bhat, Habibullah pulled up the security force
for returning the fee deposited by him for the disclosure of
information.

"It was not for BSF Headquarters to return the fee paid
by complainant Raja Muzaffar Bhat and ask him to contact
Frontier Headquarters, BSF, which, allegedly not having been
contacted, has failed to provide any information to
complainant," he said.

"In the normal course, the BSF Headquarters should have
taken recourse section 6(3)(ii) of the RTI Act whereby the
application should have been transferred within five days of
receipt to the public authority to which the subject matter of
information sought is more closely connected," Habibullah
said.

The Commission asked Bhat to produce details of FIR and
other relevant documents to BSF within a week and gave another
15 days to BSF to disclose all the information on the issue.

Bhat, who is running a voluntary group in the valley
`Jammu and Kashmir RTI Movement`, said this was the first
application about the missing youth in which orders for
disclosure of information have been issued.

"People are not relying on democracy. By using tools such
as RTI, we are trying to reinstate the belief in the
democratic system," Bhat said.

"The law is a tool where an ordinary person can question
police, Army and paramilitary forces which were not
accountable till now," Bhat said.

PTI

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