CRPF denies RTI query on pellet guns, says there were no human rights violations

The CRPF has refused to divulge any details regarding the use of pellet guns in controlling mobs in Kashmir during the unrest last summer, even as people blinded by the controversial weapon grapple with darkness.

The use of the controversial pellet guns as a ‘non-lethal’ weapon has been much criticised as its use during the 2016 unrest led to the death of at least 10 people and blinded scores.

Despite calls by opposition parties and rights groups to ban the use of pellet guns, the government has refused to do so.

In a Right to Information (RTI) query to the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), activist Venkatesh Nayak had asked for the Standard Operating Procedures (SoPs) required to be used by the paramilitary force to disperse stone-pelting mobs and large number of people other than mobs.

A reply late last month, from the office of the directorate general of the CRPF, said, “Security forces, including CRPF, are exempted to provide information except for information related to allegation of corruption/violation of human rights under Section 24(1) of RTI Act, 2005.”

“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. Moreover, your application does not make any reference to such allegations.”

“Hence this department is not liable to provide any information in this regard to you under RTI Act 2005.”

Nayak, a programme coordinator with New Delhi-based Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, also asked the names and addresses of vendors from whom the pellet guns and ammunition were procured.

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