No RTI relief for Hashimpura victims

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No RTI relief for Hashimpura victims
September 03, 2007 20:43 IST

For the kith and kin of Uttar Pradesh's Hashimpura massacre victims, it has been a long wait for justice. After knocking several doors, the survivors' last hope was the Right to Information Act.

But even that failed to yield results. At least 615 RTI applications were moved 100 days ago (May 24) -- the day which marked the 20th anniversary of the bloodbath in Hashimpura. Some queries were answered, which included some blank pages, said survivors.
However, on Monday, the appellate officer at the Crime Branch-Central Investigation Department assured some activists of prompt action.

Critical information, including the Crime Branch-Central Investigation Department report, has not been provided, the victims said. They alleged that the police, administration and judicial system tried to delay or even expunge the case.

The RTI queries they posed were: Why the Provincial Armed Constabulary accused have not been suspended from service while being prosecuted for custodial murders? What departmental proceedings and disciplinary action, if any, were initiated against them? Why was there a delay of almost a decade in charge-sheeting the PAC accused? Why were most of those indicted by the CB-CID report let off the hook?

The RTI application also wanted the CB-CID inquiry report into the PAC killings to be made public.

In 1988, the state government ordered an inquiry by the CB-CID. The report, submitted to the Uttar Pradesh government in1994, was never made public. In 1995, some victims moved the Allahabad high court to make the report public.

Also in May 2007, senior Supreme Court advocate Vrinda Grover filed two RTI applications with the state home department. The state was also asked to reveal how many persons were indicted by the CB-CID report. No reply has been given to Grover.

While accepting that information should have been provided in response to RTI applications, the CB-CID appellate officer on Monday assured Vrinda and other activists, including Magsaysay award-winner Sandeep Pandey, of prompt action.

Some documents provided in response to the rest of the RTI applications said that the accused PAC men were suspended briefly and then re-instated, said activists.

PAC personnel allegedly gunned down over 40 people on May 22, 1987. The incident occurred during the communal riots that broke out in Meerut after the then Central government opened the Babri Masjid for worship.

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