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

Whistle-blowing IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt's wife suspects foul play after truck hits her car

By Nachiketa Desai*
Paranoia has seized Shweta Bhatt, wife of suspended Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Sanjiv Bhatt, after the car she was driving was rammed in broad day light. According to Shweta Bhatt, it was beacon light-flashing truck without registration number plate. The incident took place on January 7, just a day ahead of the Gujarat High Court was scheduled to take up the bail application of Sanjiv Bhatt, arrested last year for "involvement" in a 23-year-old case.

Call to support IIM-Bangalore professor, censured for seeking action against Uniliver

Counterview Desk
Sections of the Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs) across India have strongly reacted to the decision to censure Dr Deepak Malghan, a faulty at IIM-Bangalore. Prabhir Vishnu Poruthiyil, who is faculty at IIM-Tiruchirapalli, has sought wider solidarity with Dr Malghan, saying, "The administration has censured Deepak for merely suggesting a meaningful action against Hindustan Unilever for their abysmal environmental record" by “disinviting” it for campus placement.

99% MGNREGA funds "exhausted", Govt of India makes no additional sanctions: Study

Counterview Desk
A letter, addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and prepared by senior activists led by Aruna Roy on behalf of the Peoples’ Action for Employment Guarantee (PAEG), and signed, among others, by 80 members of Parliament, has regretted that, despite repeated public statements by his government promising employment and job creation that will boost the country’s growth, the country’s only employment guarantee programme, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), “is being systematically undermined.”

Morari Bapu, who has installed new statues of Ram, Laxman, Hanuman without weapons

By Sandeep Pandey*
A saint is one who can give some inner peace by his/her voice. This will happen only when s(he) will talk about love and harmony. Morari Bapu is one saint who has been conveying the message of love, peace, harmony, fraternity, etc. Today when a number of saffron clad figures with aggressive posture, spewing venom, fanning hatred to polarise voters are at the forefront of politics of Hindutva it is a relief to see Morari Bapu in a different mould.

Nuclear reactors sought from French giant "not safe": Letter to Modi on Jaitapur project

Counterview Desk
Amidst reports that the French nuclear giant EDF has submitted a “techno-commercial offer” for the world’s largest nuclear power park proposed in Maharashtra’s Jaitapur nuclear power park in Jaitapur on the Maharashtra coast, Dr EAS Sarma, India’s former Union Secretary in the Minister of Power, and an eminent voice in the civil society, has written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who also heads Department of Atomic Energy (DAE),  protesting the move.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Kerala land being acquired using "draconian, anti-people" National Highway Act, 1956

Counterview Desk
In a letter Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan, senior activists and politicians have insisted that the Kerala government should not agree to "inhuman displacement and buid-operate-transfer (BOT) Toll system", imposed by the Government of India and the National Highway Authority of India, for widening the current National Highway (NH) 66.

Kaiga NPP expansion: Karnataka to get just 400 MW, but lose thick forest, fresh water

Counterview Desk
In an open letter to the chairman and members of the Atomic energy Commission (AEC) on the issue of Kaiga nuclear power plant (NPP) expansion plan in Karnataka, Shankar Sharma, well-known power policy analyst, has argued that that in case of expansion, the site will face “exponential increase in radiation emission risks”, underlining, “Nuclear safety experts identify such a scenario as enhanced risk for NPPs with multiple reactors and shared technical facilities."
Sharma says the questions that also be asked whether Karnataka should lose more than 54 hectares of thick forests and about 152,304 cubic meters of fresh water per day from Kali river for a meager benefit of 400 MW from the Kaiga NPP, for which “there are many benign alternative options available for the state at much lower overall costs to the state.”
Text of the letter: This has reference to the public hearing under the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Rule 2006 of Ministry of Environment, Fore…

Uttarakhand High Court: Biodiversity boards can impose fees on Ramdev's Divya Pharmacy

By Mridhu Tandon
In a significant decision, the Uttarakhand High Court on December 21, 2018 has dismissed the writ petition filed by Divya Pharmacy founded by Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balakrishnan, challenging the demand of the Uttarakhand Biodiversity Board (UBB) imposing fees under the provisions of the Fair and Equitable Benefit Sharing (FEBS).

Modi becoming Prime Minister now appears to be an "accident" to the people of India

By Sandeep Pandey*
Anupam Kher's film 'Accidental Prime Minister' has targeted Dr Manmohan Singh who served for two terms and may be again acceptable for the job if his party regains power. But his tormentor Narendra Modi seems to be out of breath even before his first term is over. Disillusionment with him is so widespread and deep that people of India may not bear with him for another term. As the general elections approach again the difference between the two needs to be examined.