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RTI Act not being implemented in true spirit: SIC

Bisma Bhat

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Srinagar, March 20: The State Information Commission (SIC) on Wednesday agreed that there were loopholes in public information deliverance system.

The Jammu & Kashmir Right to Information Act, 2009 came into force on 20 March 2009, repealing and replacing the erstwhile Jammu & Kashmir Right to Information Act, 2004 is not been implemented and followed by the authority in a professional manner.

On eve of 10th anniversary of RTI Act Jammu and Kashmir, Commissioner, SIC, Mohammad Ashraf Mir discussed various “deficiencies, weaknesses” that are responsible for the modest implementation of Act.

 

Mir said that RTI act is not been taken strictly by the authorities. “We know that the Act is not implemented the way it was designed to be implemented,” he accepted.

Mir said that they know that the government and its instrumentalities love to take credit of RTI Act but are reluctant to submit to its laws.

Moreover, the department is not professionally trained to deal with the dissemination of information.
“The public information officers (PIOs) in government departments are still not well versed with the work, resulting to denial of information to applicants,” said Mir.

He added that this powerful tool of right to get information is sometimes being misused in the hands of citizens also. “The information sought under the act is not be used in the manner it ought to be used.”

Mir said that there is a lack of awareness among the citizens who ought to use the RTI to get the required information, adding that the NOG’s and the social activists who are veterans of the RTI should educate the people on the procedure to file the RTI and be more specific.

Besides all these deficiencies, the record keeping in the entire government departments is in shambles. Mir said that the poor digitization of records in all the government departments act as the wall stone for disseminating the information.

Chairman Jammu and Kashmir RTI movement, Dr Sheikh Ghulam Rasool showed some light on the struggle to pass the Act in Jammu and Kashmir.
Dr. Rasool said, “The founder of the Jammu and Kashmir Right to Information Act is Late Balraj Puri and Advocate Irfan Hafiz lone.”

He said that J&K RTI was earlier passed in 2004 but it was very week and lacked various laws and regulations. “We formed J&K RTI movement which established the Act in 2009.”
The event was held at Kashmir University by J&K RTI Movement in collaboration with Center of Central Asian Studies.


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Kashmir

Yasin Malik’s detention: SHRC issues notice to CS, Home Sec, DGP

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Srinagar, April 24: State Human Rights commission on Wednesday issued to notice Chief Secretary J&K, Commissioner Secretary Home department and DGP police asking to submit the detailed compliance report regarding detention and shifting of Muhammad Yasin Malik to NIA custody.

According to the KNO correspondent the petitioner, Ahsan Untoo, had pleaded before the SHRC that Malik is a political worker and was detained under Public Safety Act and later handed over to National Investigation Agency, calling it ‘illegal’. The notice to government officials was issued by State Human Rights commission chairperson Rtd justice Bilal Nazki.

“The authorities illegally allowed the police authorities to change the custody which is otherwise illegal in nature and handed over custody to NIA,” Untoo had pleaded before the commission. It was reported health conditions got deteriorated with unknown reasons and the family members; friends were not allowed to interact or to get the health information of Malik.

 

Untoo in his petitions said that when Malik’s lawyer met him on April 20, at RML Hospital, he was not able to have a conversation with the lawyer as he was ruthlessly beaten by the NIA authorities, he was rushed to the RML hospital in a very critical condition and since then no one has been allowed to interact with Malik.

“It creates apprehensions in the mind of family members and the general public of the valley that he might have been assassinated by the authorities and in this regard no communication has been made by the concerned authorities regarding the same,” he said in his petition.

Untoo had also pleaded before SHRC that a team be constituted who will receive a firsthand information regarding the wellbeing of Malik, and he be brought before the media so as the apprehensions regarding the assassination of Malik are put to rest.(KNO)

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Vehicle carrying perishable food items be exempted from NH ban: Faesal

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Srinagar, Apr 24: Calling upon the government to at least , exempt vehicles carrying perishable items, vegetables, fruits, poultry and livestock from National Highway Traffic ban, President J&K Peoples Movement, Dr. Shah Faesal Wednesday said that the ban is harming small traders the most.

In a statement issued, Dr. Faesal said that restrictions on the movement of vehicles carrying perishable items has put traders to huge loss adding that administration seems to be in deep slumber to pay heed to the pleas of affected people.

“I got a call last night that a vehicle carrying livestock has been stuck on the highway for last two days. There is shortage of fodder and the animals are about to die due to hunger”, Shah Faesal added.

 

He said that not only human beings but even animals are also suffering due to the highway ban. He has forcibly demanded to revoke the draconian measure immediately.

He said ban on movement of civilian traffic on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway is totally undemocratic and anti-people which is causing huge inconvenience to all sections of the society including small and marginal traders.

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Rawalpora youth’s death: CCTV shows Umar falling down on a roadside: Police

Syed Nashir Ali Gillani

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Srinagar, Apr 24: Police on Wednesday said that questioning was on to ascertain the facts behind the mysterious death of a youth, Umar Bhat of Rawalpora’s Astanpora area.

Umar in his late 20s was found dead on Sunday after he left his home in the morning to attend a function at Tagore hall.

Station House Officer (SHO), Shergari Police station, Aftab Ahmad told The Kashmir Monitor that they were waiting for the postmortem report.

 

He said the CCTV footage available with the Police shows Umar falling on the road near Oxford school, Wanabal.

“It appears that he was under the influence of drugs, it is only an assumption. Only after postmortem report, we would be able to speak on the cause of death,” Aftab maintained.

He said they have recorded the statements of around 4-5 persons in connection with the case.

“His friends, including the one who accompanied him to Star Hospital (in Sanat Nagar), where he was initially brought for treatment, are being questioned,” he said.

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