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No human rights violation of jawans in Sukma attack: CRPF

Jun 20, 2017

At least 25 CRPF personnel are believed to have succumbed to the ambush carried out in April by left wing ultras in a tribal dominated Indian state.

New Delhi: The killing of 25 paramilitary jawans by Naxalites in Sukma district of tribal dominated state of Chhattisgarh does not qualify as the ‘human right violation’ of the killed personnel, says a response from Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in response to a Right to Information (RTI) query.

Recently, in June, taking refuge under Section 24 of the RTI Act, the CPIO of CRPF has sent a reply denying that the murderous attack amounted to human rights violation.

Replying to the RTI query, CRPF states, “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 the RTI application does not make any reference to such allegations. Hence this department is not liable to provide any information in this regard to the applicant under RTI Act-2005."

The central public information officer (CPIO) of the paramilitary force added that the inquiry report into the incident contains various security and tactics related issues and cannot be shared under RTI Act because it might adversely affect CRPF's strategic response.

CRPF’s reply was in response to the RTI query by human rights activist Venkatesh Nayak. RTI applicant Nayak had sought a response from the paramilitary force, saying the killing of jawans violated the human rights of the slained personnel in Sukma massacre in April early this year.

The condemnable attack on CRPF jawans occurred in Chhattisgarh on 24 April, 2017 when left-wing extremists carried out an attack on a team of 90 CRPF personnel who were on duty, sanitising a stretch of the public road being constructed in the Burkapal-Chintagufa area of Sukma district.

At least 25 CRPF personnel are reported to have succumbed to the ambush, while scores of others were injured. According to surviving CRPF jawans, an unspecified number of militants are also said to have been killed in the attack.

Section 24 of the RTI Act exempts 26 intelligence and security organisations from ordinary obligations of transparency like other public authorities. However, these organisations are duty bound to give information pertaining to allegations of corruption and human rights violations.

Information about allegations of human rights violations can be given only with the approval of the Central Information Commission.

Nayak believes that exempt agencies like the CRPF generally do not provide any information even if it is related to allegations of corruption or human rights violation. “Often, they simply deny the existence of such allegations,” he said.

Citing the laws, Nayak said that jawans of such paramilitary forces continue to have the fundamental right to life while in service. “Clearly, the murderous attack in April by LWE groups amounts to violation of their human rights by non-State actors. By denying this reality, the CRPF may be doing injustice to its own personnel,” he said.

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