On 17th October 2011, Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) submitted an application for information under Right to Information Act 2009 to the office of the Public Information Officer of State Department of Home. The application was regarding unmarked graves and mass graves in all the districts of Jammu and Kashmir. The State Home Department vide its letter no: Home/RTI/2011/1659 dated: 24th October 2011, transferred the application to the office of Director General of Police, Jammu & Kashmir. Later Director General of Police, Mr. Kuldeep Khoda sent communiqué vide no. legal/RTI/III/98/2011-5590-91 dated 10th December 2011 to the SSP CID Headquarters, asking him to furnish a detailed report on this issue.
Today, on 25th January 2012, we have received a response from the SSP CID Headquarters vide letter no: CID/GB/RTI/2011/8756-58, in which the CID Department has informed us that the information regarding the unmarked graves and mass graves in all the districts of Jammu and Kashmir cannot be shared as the disclosure of the information, according to Jammu and Kashmir Police would be “prejudicial to the maintenance of public peace and tranquility, as the anti-national elements may use the same for incitement of commission of offence in the state”. The SSP CID Headquarters further states, “In the present security scenario it is quite imminent that consequences of such a situation would be highly prejudicial to the sovereignty, integrity and security of the state”.
We fail to understand how information regarding the unmarked graves and mass graves would become threat for the security and sovereignty of the state, when even the State Human Rights Commission has recently endorsed our findings regarding the existence of unmarked graves and mass graves in North Kashmir. This denial comes after the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir repeatedly promised that thorough investigations would be carried out regarding unmarked graves and mass graves.
Every time state is afraid of truth and every time state shows reluctance in promoting the processes of justice. People of Jammu and Kashmir and particularly the family members of more than 8000 disappeared persons have the right to know how many unmarked graves and mass graves exist in Jammu and Kashmir and also people want to know who are the ones buried in these graves.
It has now become routine for the state to use the pretext of the security to cover up human rights crimes and thus deny justice. Crimes cannot be hidden to protect the sovereignty, integrity, security, peace and tranquility.
APDP has already filed the first appeal under section 16 (1) of the J&K RTI Act 2009 at the first Appellate authority of the Police Headquarters.
Yaseen Hassan Malik
- Grave concerns over security laws in Kashmir (kractivist.wordpress.com)
- J&K government has buried the SHRC report on unmarked graves in Kashmir: APDP (kafila.org)
- Human Rights Review – Jammu and Kashmir in 2011: JKCCS (alhittin.com)
- End the culture of impunity, not just AFSPA: APDP (kafila.org)
- Human Rights Day observed in Kashmir (thehindu.com)
- Parveena Ahangar rejects CNN-IBN’s nomination for ‘Indian of the Year 2011′ (alhittin.com)