GUWAHATI: The Assam Police has declined to share information sought under the RTI Act on witch hunting in the state, citing an exemption provision for its CID wing, though the state government tabled the same data in the Assembly 10 days after.
The RTI application was submitted to the SPIO of the Home Department on March 13 this year and the final reply came from the CID wing of Assam Police on May 26. It took the concerned authorities 74 days to give the final reply against the prescribed timeframe of 30 days for providing information under the RTI Act.
"...I am directed to inform you that this organisation is exempted from the purview of Right to Information Act 2005 as per section 24(4) of this Act vide Government of Assam, Notification No PLA-384/2005/54 dated 8th March, 2006," Superintendent of Police (CID) said in its reply.
The RTI application was forwarded to the Assam Police by the Home Department asking to reply to the queries related to witch-hunting incidents across the state and the steps being taken to prevent such unfortunate cases.
Just 10 days after the RTI application was filed, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Rockybul Hussain on March 23 had informed the House on behalf of the Home Minister that at least 77 persons had been killed and 60 others injured in witch-hunting incidents across Assam since 2010.
In a written reply to a query by BJP MLA Prasanta Phukan during the last Budget Session, Hussain had said these persons had been murdered due to superstitious beliefs between 2010 and February, 2015.
Out of the 77 persons killed, there were 35 women and of the injured 60 people, 46 were women.
During the said period, a total of 93 instances of witchcraft had been reported from across the state, the minister had said.
Hussain had also informed the House about the measures the government was taking to prevent this deadly superstitious belief and said the Additional Director General of CID had prepared a draft anti-witch hunting bill as per the direction of the Gauhati High Court.