Information on Chinese casualties in Galwan Valley clashes rightly withheld by military: CIC

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Information about the casualties suffered by Chinese soldiers during the Galwan Valley clash with Indian forces in Ladakh two years ago cannot be disclosed, the Central Information Commission said.

In a recent order, the CIC, the highest appellate body under the Right to Information Act (RTI), refused to allow a plea aimed at ”victims of Chinese forces, the case necessary, by brave soldiers of the country” during the clashes on the night of June 15 to 16, 2020.

RTI’s requester, Akhand, had also sought information on casualties suffered by Indian forces in the Galwan River Valley, Ladakh, near the Line of Effective Control during the clash and rehabilitation and ex -gratia paid to families.

In addition, the RTI claimant had sought to find out from the army whether any Indian soldiers were missing in the Galwan River Valley after the clash and its plans to rescue them.

The military refused to release the information, saying it was third-party information that cannot be shared under section 8(1)(j) of the law, which exempts people from disclosure. personal information.

To deny the information, the military also cited Section 8(1)(a) of the Act which exempts from disclosure information which would undermine the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security , to the strategic, scientific or economic interests of the State, relationship with a foreign State or lead to incitement to the offense.

Akhand’s representative argued before the CIC that the matter was of broader public interest and that the information should be provided to him.

Information Commissioner Vanaja N Sarna said: ‘It is to be noted that an appropriate response was given to the caller in which it was rightly stated that since the information relates to third parties, the information may not be provided under Section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act.” ”It was also stated that information being of a sensitive nature may not be provided under section 8(1)(a) of the RTI Act. The Commission is unable to find a flaw in the response, therefore, no redress can be awarded,” she said.

The border line east of Ladakh intensified after clashes in the Galwan Valley on June 15, 2020.

Twenty members of the Indian army gave their lives in the clashes which marked the most serious military conflicts between the two sides for decades.

China had acknowledged the death of five soldiers during the clash.

Chinese casualties were estimated to be much higher, with a number of soldiers drowning while crossing the river in darkness, according to an investigative report from an Australian newspaper in February this year.

(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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