Srinagar: The PDP-led government has refused to provide information under Right to Information Act about the magisterial inquiry into the killing of a Palhalan youth, Farooq Ahmad Bhat, on February 9 this year.
“It is hereby brought to your notice that the information whatever available in this office, sought by you under RTI Act 2009 cannot be provided to you under the provisions of Section 8 (clause 1) and sub section g and h of the Act,” reads a response by sub-divisional magistrate Pattan to Abdul Manan Bukhari, in-charge of the Hurriyat (M)’s legal cell.
The sub-divisional magistrate Pattan had been asked by the government to inquire into the killing of Bhat, who had been shot dead by the police.
The SDM’s probe report had said that Bhat was not part of the demonstration, as testified by the residents of the area. Although the Baramulla deputy commissioner had promised, the findings of the report were never made public.
Besides photo copy of the Magisterial Enquiry Report, Bukhari had sought post-mortem, inquest proceedings and ballistic expert reports as well as a copy of the FIR.
Aggrieved by the response of the SDM, Bukhari filed Appeal before First Appellate Authority, the Baramulla deputy commissioner, stating that information sought by the him does not fall within the ambit of Section 8 (clause1) and sub section (g) & (h) of the RTI.
The Section 8 bars information if its disclosure would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, or lead to incitement of an offence.
After going through the appeal, the DC directed the SDM to dispose it in the light of the RTI Act, particularly as per the sections 8 and sub section (1) clause (f).
“It is to inform you that whatever information available in this office with respect to your application could not be provided to you,” the SDM reiterated while disposing of the appeal.
The killing of 19-year-old Farooq Ahmad Bhat by the police in Palhalan had triggered massive protests following which the administration, then headed by governor NN Vohra, ordered a probe.
Farooq’s family and the people who survived the police firing say that he was neither part of the protest against the beating of a man and his daughter by the police during a nocturnal raid, a day before his killing, or the stone-pelting incident that ensued.