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‘Enforced Disappearances’ & ‘Encounter Killings’ in Punjab: Police Deny Information under Right to Information (RTI) Act

January 30, 2018 | By

Jalandhar (IP Singh, ToI*): Punjab Police have ducked queries under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, seeking information about the number of persons killed during the days of militancy in the state and militants killed in encounters between 1978 and 1993. Different pretexts have been used to deny the information.

The office of Punjab DGP, to whom the application was sent along with senior superintendents of police (SSPs), diverted the query to the intelligence wing of the police.

The intelligence wing further denied the information saying it was out of the purview of the RTI Act.
The SSPs of different districts have also denied information on one pretext or the other.

Nawanshahr-based RTI activist Parvnider Singh Kitna had sought the year-wise information about number and list of persons killed by militants; militants killed in encounters with Punjab Police and other security agencies; persons killed in fake encounters; those who reportedly disappeared during this period; and number of unidentified bodies found. He had sent applications to the Punjab DGP and SSPs of around 18 districts in the state. He had mentioned in his application that this information pertained to period between April 1, 1978, and December 31, 1993.

He also specifically mentioned the period of April 1, 1978, to May 31, 1984, while seeking these details.
“I sought this information as there are no specific details available in the public domain about the number of people killed during this period even as they were in thousands. There was huge loss of life during this period but still the governments have not made available any data and politicians in their rhetoric have been using different numbers, which just wild guesses. People should know that how many civilians were killed by militants and how many militants were killed in encounters or reportedly were made to disappear,” Kitna said.

He mentioned in his application that the information was being sought to bring out the truth and to use it for building harmony in the society. In his response, the Patiala SSP said as per the state government’s directions, a public information officer (PIO) was not supposed to provide a solution to the applicant or to answer “irrelevant questions” and the applicant could not ask that why something had or had not been done. “A PIO is not bound to answer queries and is bound to provide only that informant that is part of the record or under his jurisdiction,” the reply mentioned.

The office of Hoshiarpur SSP stated that record was not available as it was very old and the information pertained to provoke crime. The SSP Sangrur simply said that the information was more than 20 years old so it could not be disclosed as provided by Section 8 of the RTI Act.

*Note: Above content was originally published by the Times of India (TOI) under title: “Police deny information on civilians, militants killed in Punjab” by “https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/police-deny-info-on-civilians-militants-killed-in-punjab/articleshow/62701670.cms” at source url: . It is reproduced as above for the information of readers of the Sikh Siyasat News (SSN).



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