New Delhi: Strengthening the apprehension that there is something that is being veiled, the Prime Minister Office (PMO) has refused to provide information related to the decision of abrogation Article 370 and 35 (A) – which had given Jammu and Kashmir a special status.
Lucknow-based activist Dr Nutan Thakur had sought copy of the official file of PMO related to the decision to abrogate Article 370, end the status of the statehood of the Valley and formation of Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
On August 21, the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) of the PMO disposed off the RTI application, saying that it was being done “after due consideration”.
Nutan has filed first appeal with the PMO against the order, saying that information sought can only be refused under the RTI Act if it is exempted under any provision. “Here, the information has not been refused on any provision of RTI Act, but merely with use of words ‘after due consideration’, which is not proper,” said Thakur.
She has now written to the first appellate authority, adding, “I had presented an RTI application to CPIO, Prime Minister Office (PMO), seeking a copy of the official file – including the correspondence with various offices and the notesheet – related to the government’s decision to abrogate Article 370. The request was disposed off by the CPIO, saying that it was done after ‘due consideration’. The response of the CPIO of PMO does not seem to be correct. An application can only be refused under the RTI Act, if it is exempted under any provision of the RTI Act. Here the CPOIO has not mentioned any provision of the Act under which the information was being refused. Instead, it merely used the word after ‘due consideration’, which is extremely cryptic and meaningless and has no legal sanctity under the RTI Act.”
He has prayed that the information sought is not exempted under any of the provisions of the RTI Act and therefore, the same be provided at the earliest.
There is a complete lockdown and communication blackout in the Kashmir Valley after the Centre scrapped the special status of the state and implemented Indian Constitution. There is undeclared curfew and all communication lines are shut.
At least 2,300 people, mostly young men, have reportedly been detained. Those arrested include Kashmir’s mainstream leaders, activists as well as separatists who have been held in jails and other makeshift facilities.
The crackdown began just before the Modi government at the Centre on August. 5 stripped Jammu and Kashmir of its semi-autonomy and its statehood, creating two federal territories – Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
Thousands of additional troops were sent to man checkpoints in the Valley, already one of the world’s most militarised regions. Telephone communications, cellphone coverage, broadband internet and cable TV services were cut for the Valley’s seven million people, although some communication channels have been gradually restored in places.
Meanwhile, a delegation of Opposition leaders, including Congress’ Rahul Gandhi, were not allowed to visit Srinagar on August 24 to meet the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The 11-member delegation were detained at the airport and will be sent back to New Delhi.
The government so far has not allowed any political leader to enter the state since provisions of Article 370 were abrogated by the Centre.
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