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J&K RTI Foundation holds event on Int’l Universal access to information day 2020


Srinagar, Sep 28 (KNS): J&K Right to Information (RTI) Foundation held an online event on Universal Access to Information Day 2020 in collaboration with "RTI Application Online" on Zoom App in which more than 40 participants were registered. The event theme was "Does J&K have Right to Information after abrogation of Article 370?"
In a statement issued to KNS reads, every year 28th September is universally observed as International Day for "Universal Access to Information". While recognizing its significance, the United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed 28th September as international day of "Access to Information". And this year the focus has been given on "Right to Information Act" in times of present global crises, with constitutional, statutory, and policy guarantees for public access to information to save lives, build trust, and the formulation of sustainable policies.
Earlier we used to celebrate March 20 as RTI Day but since the Jammu and Kashmir Right to Information Act 2009 was replaced with Central RTI Law 2005 hence this year we celebrated International Right to Know Day. The issues which gained momentum in the event included harassment of RTI Activists, demand for implementation of Whistle Blowers' Protection Law, Implementation of Section 4 of Central RTI Act, hiding and delay of information by Public Authorities, not for a region specific information Commissioners of a commission, need for speedy disposal of second appeals and the weakness of Right to Information Culture in J&K after abrogation of Article 370.
Engineer Irfan who is the founder of J&K RTI Foundation demanded the awareness of new RTI law in J&K both for PIO's and general masses. He explained how J&K RTI Act 2009 was stronger than Central RTI Act 2005 and appealed for the unity of all RTI Activists in J&K to at least demand a region specific Information Commissioner who could understand the appellants language and regional departments work culture. He demanded revocation of FIR against senior RTI Activist Sajad Hussain who belongs to Chadoora and runs volantarily RTI Clinic to help common masses.
Sheikh Sartaj said in the event that I have been harassed many times on the grounds that I had sought information from the departments including rural development department, health department, ICDS, etc. which could expose scams and embezzlement of funds but, instead of appreciation, we get harassment.
Shameem Ahmad Parra, a PG History Student at Kashmir University, said that RTI Activism has badly went on back foot after bifurcation of state into two UTs. We must work for its revival with much enthusiasm and energy. Every now and then RTI Activists are considering themselves as the endangered species on this part of globe. Government must intervene for the safety of Activists across the UT of J&K.
Sajad Hussain who is the Organizer of J&K RTI Foundation thanked the participants who shared their view points with a demand to stop harassments and make wide publicity of RTI Law while protection RTI Activists with implementation of Whistle Blowers Protection Law in Jammu and Kashmir. J&K RTI Found (KNS)


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