The Indian Ordnance Factory Board has refused to make public information on efficacy of the infamous anti-riot “12 Bore Pump Action Gun” used as pellet guns, saying it will adversely affect the security of the country. In its response to a Right to Information Act application, the Ordnance Factory Board cited sections 8(1)(a) which exempts from disclosure information related to security and strategic matters and section 8(1)(d) which exempts information related to commercial confidence.
Venkatesh Nayak of Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative wanted details of every transaction that took place from January 1, 2010 till date with regards to the gun besides efficacy and impact of the anti-riot weapon “12 Bore Pump Action Gun” and all types of cartridges usable with such gun.
He approached the Ordnance Factory Board Headquarters seeking records related to specification and physical characteristic of riot-control weapons produced by it, their prices, sale details of “12 Bore Pump Action Gun” and related ammunition.
Mr. Nayak also sought to know details such as the identity of the buyer, date of sale, sale price, and quantity of such guns and related ammunition sold. The RTI application was transferred to different authorities in the Board before being rejected by the Ordnance factory in Khadki, Pune which cited the exemptions to refuse disclosure of information.
Questions have been raised on the efficacy of pellet guns, which were used to disperse protesters in Kashmir Valley as many people lost their eyesight and some deaths were also attributed to them. “I had not asked information about weapons and ammunition used to defend the country against external aggression. I was only asking information about the specifications and characteristics, pricing and sales data about anti-riot weapons.
“Copies of reports that indicate the efficacy of such weapons and their impact on human beings who are targeted,” Mr. Nayak said. He claimed there is more proactive disclosure about the specifications of defence equipment than anti-riot weapons and ammunition which are used against citizens within the country.