The Centre has refused to share copies of reports sent to it by the Uttar Pradesh Governor and the government on Muzaffarnagar communal violence saying it would impede probe, apprehension or prosecution of offenders.
In reply to an RTI query, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said that so far as the recent communal violence in Muzaffarnagar is concerned, an “incident happened in Kawal town on August 27, 2013 in which three persons were killed over alleged eve teasing of a girl which culminated into a major communal riot in Muzaffarnagar and its adjoining districts”.
“As per report of the state government, 62 persons were killed and 98 persons were injured. Copies of reports cannot be provided under Section 8 (H) of Right to Information Act, 2005,” it said.
The Section bars disclosure of information which would impede the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of offenders.
The MHA was asked to provide copies of reports sent to it by Uttar Pradesh Governor and government among others.
The Ministry also cited an exemption clause of the transparency law when asked details of any intelligence communication sent to Uttar Pradesh government warning them of possible riots in Muzaffarnagar and other areas.
“As per Section 24 of the RTI Act, 2005, the information relating to Intelligence Bureau does not come under the purview of RTI Act,” the reply said.
The Section bars disclosure of information, other than those pertaining to the allegations of corruption and human rights violations, by about 19 probe agencies, intelligence and security organisations including Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), Central Economic Intelligence Bureau (CEIB) and Directorate of Enforcement (ED) among others.
The MHA also declined to share copies of letters or reports exchanged between Uttar Pradesh government and MHA.
“A series of letters and advisories were sent to the government of Uttar Pradesh on September 5, 9, 10 and 25, October 4 and November 14 to take all preventive measures to maintain harmony in the area. However, copies of letters or reports exchanged between the state government of Uttar Pradesh and MHA cannot be provided under Section 8 (H) of RTI Act, 2005,” the Ministry said in reply to the RTI query filed by PTI .
The central government deployed 78 companies (about 7,800 personnel) of Central Armed Police Forces in the riot-affected areas.
Besides, ministries of Health and Family Welfare, Food and Public Distribution and Drinking Water and Sanitation were also requested to provide all assistance to the state government of Uttar Pradesh in relation to their requirements, if asked by the state government, it said.
“The responsibility of dealing with communal violence and maintaining relevant data in this regard rests primarily with respective state governments. Details like extent of loss of property, compensation paid to affected families, persons arrested or convicted etc, are not centrally maintained,” the reply said.