Indians have no right to info in J&K
Even as successive governments in Jammu and Kashmir have liberally extended security laws like TADA, POTA or Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) to the state, they block implementation of central laws like Right to Education (RTE), granting constitutional status to panchayats etc, citing special status granted under the Article 370 of the Indian Constitution.
“Are you Indian? Or “Are you from India?” These are the questions asked to anybody from India landing in Kashmir. People apart, now such questions are asked even by the J&K government – ruled jointly by the National Conference (NC) and the Congress – which do not tire from always asserting that J&K is an integral part of India.
The state government is not entertaining even rudimentary queries under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, if you are not from the state. Your RTI applications will be rejected, citing the law enacted by the J&K assembly that the right under Section 3 is available only to the J&K residents. It says: “Every person residing in the state shall have the right to information.” A large number of scholars interested in Kashmir-related topics, are frustrated as their queries are rejected on this ground.
A Delhi organisation media studies group, specialising in research on media, had filed a simple RTI query to know the names of newspapers, news agencies and electronic agencies, the contact numbers of their journalists and employees, their addresses, emails, etc. and accreditations granted or pending.
The J&K Directorate of Information rejected the query and returned the postal order of Rs50 as the RTI fee, stating that “a person who is non-state subject is not entitled for right to information under Section 3 of the Jammu and Kashmir Right to Information Act, 2009. The group’s convener filed an appeal against this order, but it too was rejected as “not tenable”.