Sunday, July 25, 2010

Eight RTI activists killed in seven months

Eight RTI activists killed in seven months

J. Balaji

'In most cases, the top brass knew what was going on'


Maharashtra tops the list with four; Gujarat had two

NGOs plan a rally condemning the killing


NEW DELHI: With the cold-blooded murder of Right to Information (RTI) activist Amit Jethwa near the Gujarat High Court in Ahmedabad last Tuesday, the number of whistleblowers killed this year alone has gone up to eight. The Congress-ruled Maharashtra tops the list with four killings, followed by the BJP-ruled Gujarat with two.

The murdered RTI activists were: Datta Patil of Kolhapur (Maharashtra), killed on May 31; Vitthal Gite of Beed district, Maharashtra, on April 21; Sola Ranga Rao of Krishna District, Andhra Pradesh, on April 11; Arun Sawant of Badlapur, Maharashtra, on February 26; Shashidhar Mishra of Begusarai, Bihar, on February 14; Vishram Laxman Dodiya of Ahmedabad, Gujarat, on February 11; and Satish Shetty of Pune, Maharashtra, killed on January 13.

Eyewash

RTI activist Krishnaraja Rao said that after every murder the respective State Government gave a standard reply: "Matter is under investigation. We will find the culprits." He alleged that this is nothing but eyewash. In most cases, the top brass knew exactly what was going on.

"By not penalising slippery public information officers and not compelling evasive public authorities to provide information, the State Information Commissioners too blunt the RTI activist's sword and prolong his battle for years, until somebody gets him in the end," he complained.

Meanwhile, Various NGOs and human rights organisations are planning to undertake a rally from ITO in New Delhi this Monday at 6 p.m. to condemn the brutal killing of Amit Jethwa.

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The RTI Act was passed by the Lok Sabha (Lower House) on 11 May 2005, by the Raj Sabha (Upper House) on 12 May 2005 and received Presidential assent on 15 June 2005. Parts of the Act came into force upon Presidential assent, but the Act came fully into force on 12 October 2005, 120 days after Presidential assent.

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