Skip to main content

Of 27 persons hacked to death for using the RTI tool, four were from Gujarat alone: Campaigners

By Our Representative
The Mahiti Adhikar Gujarat Pahel (MAGP), the state’s premier Right to Information (RTI) campaign body, has expressed dismay over the fact that during the last eight years, as many as 27 RTI whistle blowers were hacked to death all over India, out of which four were from Gujarat. Those who were killed in Gujarat after fighting for their rights under RTI were -- Vishram Dodiya,Amit Jethva, Jabardan Gadhvi, Nadeem Saiyyad. Suggesting that this is a “poor record” for a state which calls itself progressive, a presentation on the eighth anniversary of the RTI Act said, in the country as a whole over 155 whistle blowers were “brutally attacked” in India but survived, of which 24 such attacks took place in Gujarat.
Talking with newspersons in Ahmedabad on the occasion of the eighth anniversary of the Act, which they said has “helped marginalized sections of India bring in major changes in their life by seeking information from government sources on disbursement under different schemes promulgated from time to time for their benefit”, MAGP campaigners, Harinesh Pandya and Pankti Jog, also regretted that the Gujarat Information Commission has lately begun to show lack of transparency.
“The Gujarat Information Commission website had put up details of the cases pending with the commission, which is the highest authority in the state to decide on RTI applications. The details were removed just a week back for unknown reasons”, the activists said, adding, “According to the information we have been able to obtain from the commission, there are around 8,800 cases still pending to be cleared by the commission. However, it is difficult to understand why couldn’t the exact number be put up on the website, with details like the number of years they are pending and the reasons for pending cases.”
When contacted, a senior commission official tried to reason that the details were “removed” because the commission was in the process of revamping the website. However, the campaigners suggested, the commission should show proactive disclosure, by which it swears. “It is unfortunate that the general administration department (GAD) of the Gujarat government should send details of implementation of the RTI Act to the commission every three months, but it never does. The commission on its part has also not asked why such indifference is there on the part of the commission.”
Significantly, this was done at a time when the Commonweath Human Rights Initiative, in its new report, "The Use of Information Laws in India",  has taken strong exception to the fact that the Gujarat Information Commission is one of the few states which have been refusing to upload their annual reports on their website. Other major states have not done it ever since 2006, when the Act became operational in all the states, are Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
The activists said, their latest efforts suggest that there are ways to protect the whistleblowers from brutal attacks at a time when powerful interests are refusing to part with information. “The first step could be that the applicants report to the RTI helpline 09924085000, run by the MAGP, regarding the threats, records voice complaint. It can send a fax message. This would help the RTI helpline to document the case and send details of the threat to the information commissioner, the district superintendent of police, and respective police stations with a demand to ensure protection of citizen.”
The MAGP’s next step is to guide the whistleblower to file a complaint with the police station, and also with commission under Section 18 of RTI Act. The complaint should be made in writing. “We have found that this method has been of great help and we were able to save two dozen lives in Gujarat”, the activists said, adding, “This helps the Information Commission, upon receiving complaint, to send a letter the police and the respective department, to which the RTI application has been addressed.”
This also helps the helpline to fax details to the district collector and the respective department to immediately put info into public domain. “This is followed up by the “demand to put information in public domain. If required similar RTI application are filed by the RTI activist in various parts of city, state, or country”, the activists said, adding, “At the same time, it is essential to use the social media and email information to as many persons as possible as soon as threat is received.”

List of whistleblowers killed over the last eight year:
S.No.
Name
Place
Form of attack
Probable Cause
Date
1.
Amit Jethwa
Gujarat
Shot to death
Enquiries about illegal mining that were a danger to the Gir reserve
July 20, 2010
2.
Dattatreya Patil (farmer)
Kohlapur, Maharashtra
Beaten up and slashed with swords
Filed RTI against horse trading in Kohlapur Municipal Election
May 31, 2010
3.
Vitthal Gite
Beed, Maharashtra
Killed by under the members scanner.
Exposed irregularities in a school in his village
April 21, 2010
4.
Arun Sawant 
Badlapur, Maharashtra
Shot dead
Feb 26, 2010
5.
Satish Shetty
Pune, Maharastra
Assaulted by assailants
Exposed major land scams, near Mumbai-Pune expressway
Jan 13 2010
6.
Vishram Laxman Dodiya 
Ahmadabad
 Shot dead
Sought info on illegal electricity connections in the city
Feb 11 2010
7.
Shashidhar Mishra (street vendor)
Begusarai, Bihar
Shot dead
Filed more than a 1000 petitions before his murder
Feb 14 2010
8.
Ramdas Ghadegaokar
Nanded, Maharashtra
Stoned to death
Took on the sand mafia
27th August 2010
9.
Sola Ranga Rao
Krishna district, Andhra Pradesh
Found murdered
Filed a petition on funding of the village draining system. 
April 11 2010
10.
Irfan Yusuf Qazi
Jaitapur,Mahrashtra 
Killed when his scooter was hit by a police jeep
Protested against nuclear power plant in Jaitapur
December 18, 2010
11
Nadeem Sayyad
Ahmedabad, Gujarat
Shot dead
Sought info and complaint regarding Illegal slaughter houses
5th Nov 2001

12
Shehala Masood
MP
Shot Dead
Trading of Animal Skin,organs
16th August 2011
13
Niyamat Ansari
Jerua village in Latehar district of Jharkhand.
Beaten to Death
MGNREGA
2nd March 2011
14
Jabardan Gadhvi
Kutch Gujarat
Provoked to committee suicide
Revenue Record
21St Feb 2011
15
Lalit Mehta
Jharkhand
Beaten to death
MGNREGA
15th May 2008
16
Venkatesh
Karnataka
Shot dead
Land scam
7th June 2008
17
Premkant Jha
Virar, Maharastra
Shot dead
Vasai Municipal Corporation regarding Constructive Activity
25th Feb 2012
18
Kameshwar Yadav
Jharkahand
Miurdered
Sought information on the nexus among officers, politicians, contractors and middlemen in NREGA related irrigation projects in Deori.
6th July 2008
19
Sou
Haryana


2nd October 2-11
20
S. Bhuvaneshwaran
Tamil Nadu


1st Oct 2012
21
Ramvilas Singh
Bihar


12th August 2011
22
V. Balasubramanyam
Tamil Nadu


18th Sept 2010
23
Vasudev Ediga
Udipi Karnataka


12th Jan 2013
24
Shambhu Singh
Rajasthan
Beaten brutally and then died in the hospital
(was receiving threat for last 2-3 months)
Local development work of thePanchyat
7th October 2013
25
Kumar Thakur
Bihar
Beaten to death
MGNREGA
23rd March 2013
26
Manjunath Shanmugam
Lakshmipur, UP
Shot Dead
IOC
19th Nov 2005
27
Murlidhar Jayswal
Munger, Bihar
Beaten to death
MGNREGA
23rd March 2013

Comments

TRENDING

Mystery around Gujarat PSU 'transfer' of Rs 250 crore to Canadian firm Karnalyte

By AK Luke, IAS (Retd)*
While returning from a Board meeting of the Oil India Limited (OIL) in Ahmedabad some time in 2012, two officers of the Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd (GSFC), Nanavaty and Patel,  saw me off at the airport. They said they were proceeding to Canada in connection with a project GSFC had entered into with a company there. As we were running late, I hastily wished them the best.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad 'declared' two-nation theory in 1937, Jinnah followed 3 years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

Indians have made 119 nations their ‘karma bhumi’: US-based Hindu NGO tells Rupani

Counterview Desk
In a stinging letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, the US-based Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR), referring to the report citing his justification for the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) – that “while Muslims can choose any one of the 150 Islamic countries in the world (for residence), India is the only country for Hindus" – has said, he should remember, Hindus have made several countries, including USA, their home.

J&K continues to be haunted, as parts of India 'degenerate' into quasi-Kashmir situation

By Rajendran Narayanan*, Sandeep Pandey**
“Jab har saans mein bandook dikhe toh baccha kaise bekhauf rahe?” (How can a child be fearless when she sees a gun in every breath?) remarked Anwar, a gardener from Srinagar, when asked about the situation in Kashmir. On November 30, 2019, a walk through an iron gate in a quiet neighbourhood of Srinagar took us inside a public school. It was 11 am when typically every school is abuzz with activity. Not here though.

Tata Mundra's possible closure? Power ministry's 'pressure tactic' on consumer states

By Bharat Patel*
Tata power has announced to the Union Ministry of Power that Tata Power may be forced to stop operating  its imported coal-based Mundra Ultra-Mega Power Project (UMPP) after February, 2020. It is not only unfortunate but also criminal that irreversible damage has been caused to the fragile ecosystem of Mundra coast for a project that will have a running life of only seven years.

Population control? 10% Indian couples want to delay next pregnancy, but fail

Counterview Desk
Shireen Jejeebhoy, director at Aksha Centre for Equity and Wellbeing, previously senior associate at the Population Council, India, argues that the debate on the country's population was fuelled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day address to the nation, where he drew attention to “concern” about the challenges posed by this ‘exploding’ population growth, needs to centre around the promotion of rights and education, instead of the language of explosion and the threat of coercion that this term implies.

Upendra Baxi on foolish excellence, Indian judges and Consitutional cockroaches

By Rajiv Shah
In a controversial assertion, top legal expert Upendra Baxi has sought to question India's Constitution makers for neglecting human rights and social justice. Addressing an elite audience in Ahmedabad, Prof Baxi said, the constitutional idea of India enunciated by the Constituent Assembly tried to resolve four key conflicting concepts: governance, development, rights and justice.

What about religious persecution of Dalits, Adivasis, asks anti-CAA meet off Ahmedabad

By Rajiv Shah
A well-attended Dalit rights meet under the banner “14 Pe Charcha” (discussion on Article 14 of the Indian Constitution), alluding to Prime Minister Narendra Modi well-known campaign phrase of the 2014 Parliamentary elections, “chai pe charcha” (discussion over cup of tea), organized off Ahmedabad, has resolved on Wednesday to hold a 14 kilometres-long rally on April 14 to oppose the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), enacted on December 10-11.

Kerala governor turned History Congress into political arena, 'insulted' Prof Irfan Habib

Counterview Desk
In a signed statement, office bearers of the Aligarh Society of History and Archaeology (ASHA), Prof Syed Ali Nadeem Rezavi (president), Prof Jabir Raza (vice-president), Prof Manvendra Kumar Pundhir (secretary) and Prof Farhat Hasan (joint secretary), have said that Kerala governor Arif Mohammad Khan had sought to insult veteran historian Prof Irfan Habib, 88, at the 80th session of the Indian History Congress, even as turning it into his “political arena”.