Skip to main content

RTI acivist's murder: Gujarat Information Commission asks cops to furnish info on bootlegger to deceased's brother

Shaileshbhai Patel
By Pankti Jog*
Acting against police "indifference" towards bootleggers in Surendranagar, a district town situated about 130 kilometres west of Ahmedabad, the Gujarat Information Commission (GIC) has passed an order for furnishing information regarding number of cases registered and action taken by the cops against a bootlegger, who allegedly murdered a right to information (RTI) activist on June 15.
The GIC, which is the statutory watchdog for RTI in Gujarat, said in its order that the police must provide information about the cases against the bootlegger in its in past 4 years, and if actions were not been taken then, what was the reason.
One June 15, Shaileshbhai Patel filed RTI application with the office of the district superintendent of police (DSP), Surendrangar, seeking information about the FIRs lodged against the bootlegger and action taken regarding the same. Information about his application is said to have been leaked, and on the same night, he was called by the local crime branch (LCB), where the bootlegger (regarding whom, Shaileshbahi had sought information) was present.
While it is not known what happened at the LCB, on the same day night, Shaileshbhai, who was also a local journalist, was brutally beaten up and murdered (click HERE).
Shaileshbhai's elder brother Dilipbhai Patel filed a complaint under section 18 of the RTI Act with the GIC on June 19, where he said that since his younger brother (applicant for the information) was no more, the police department might choose not to respond to the RTI query on the bootlegger. But since it was a matter of larger public interest, information should be furnished, he requested.
Taking cognizance of the plea, Chief Information Commission Balwant Singh passed an order that information sought by the deceased should be furnished within seven days of the receipt of the order. The police has also been asked to submit a compliance report for the same.
Despite the GIC order, which was passed on June 30, Dilipbhai, when contacted, said till date he has not received any information he had sought on behalf of his brother.
Meanwhile, serious questions are being raised about the efficiency of the police department in taking action against the bootlegger even after receiving intimation regarding their illegal liquor trading.
“We will again move to GIC if information is not given to us”, said one of family members of the deceased RTI activist. “Police have failed to act against such anti-social elements. Had they taken proper action, when required, Shaileshbhai would have been alive,”, they added.
RTI activist Harinesh Pandya said, “When information regarding any such sensitive issue involving corruption or illegal activities is sought, there is always an element of threat. Accused succeeded in eliminating with the help of system, but now that the information regarding police action and inaction has been asked by many people, how can they eliminate all the applicants?”
“Disclosure of information is the best protection that system can give to information seeker, provided they have intentions of disclosing the same and not hiding it from people” He added.
Meanwhile, information coming in from other states says that RTI applicants were recently filed in Maharastra and Andhra Pradesh. Just like what happened in Surendranagar, those who were seeking information regarding action taken by police against bootleggers have still not received any reply. 
And, like in Surendranagar, their  RTI applications have been transferred to the respective city police stations.
---
*With Mahiti Adhikar Gujarat Pahel, Ahmedabad

Comments

TRENDING

Girl child education: 20 major states 'score' better than Gujarat, says GoI report

By Rajiv Shah
A Government of India report, released last month, has suggested that “model” Gujarat has failed to make any progress vis-à-vis other states in ensuring that girls continue to remain enrolled after they leave primary schools. The report finds that, in the age group 14-17, Gujarat’s 71% girls are enrolled at the secondary and higher secondary level, which is worse than 20 out of 22 major states for which data have been made available.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad "declared support" to two-nation theory in 1937, followed by Jinnah three 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.

Hindutva founders, not Congress, were actual 'proponents' of two-nation theory

By Shamsul Islam*
No other organization, in the present world, can beat Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in double-speak. In fact, what George Orwell termed as "doublespeak" would be an understatement in the case of RSS. The latest proof of this nasty case was provided by the Union Home Minister Amit Shah, de facto Prime Minister and senior RSS leader in the Lok Sabha (akin to the House of Commons in England) on December 9, 2019.

Congress 'promises' cancellation of Adani power project: Jharkhand elections

Counterview Desk
Pointing out that people's issues take a backseat in Jharkhand's 2019 assembly elections, the state's civil rights organization, the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha, a coalition of activists and people’s organisations, has said that political parties have largely ignored in their electoral manifestos the need to implement the fifth schedule of the Constitution in a predominantly tribal district.

Hindutva founders 'borrowed' Nazi, fascist idea of one flag, one leader, one ideology

By Shamsul Islam*
With the unleashing of the reign of terror by the RSS/BJP rulers against working-class, peasant organizations, women organizations, student movements, intellectuals, writers, poets and progressive social/political activists, India also witnessed a series of resistance programmes organized by the pro-people cultural organizations in different parts of the country. My address in some of these programmes is reproduced here... 
***  Before sharing my views on the tasks of artists-writers-intellectuals in the times of fascism, let me briefly define fascism and how it is different from totalitarianism. Totalitarianism is political concept, a dictatorship of an individual, family or group which prohibits opposition in any form, and exercises an extremely high degree of control over public and private life. It is also described as authoritarianism.
Whereas fascism, while retaining all these repressive characteristics, also believes in god-ordained superiority of race, cultur…

Ex-World Bank chief economist doubts spurt in India's ease of doing business rank

By Rajiv Shah
This is in continuation of my previous blog where I had quoted from a commentary which top economist Prof Kaushik Basu had written in the New York Times (NYT) a little less than a month ago, on November 6, to be exact. He recalled this article through a tweet on November 29, soon after it was made known that India's growth rate had slumped (officially!) to 4.5%.

With RSS around, does India need foreign enemy to undo its democratic-secular fabric?

By Shamsul Islam*
Many well-meaning liberal and secular political analysts are highly perturbed by sectarian policy decisions of RSS/BJP rulers led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, especially after starting his second inning. They are vocal in red-flagging lynching incidents, policies of the Modi government on Kashmir, the National Register of Citizens (NRC), the demand for 'Bharat Ratna' to Savarkar who submitted 6-7 mercy petitions to the British masters (getting remission of 40 years out of 50 years' sentence), and the murder of constitutional norms in Goa, Karnataka and now in Maharashtra.

Ships recycling Bill 'allows' India to be turned into a landfill for foreign hazardous waste

Counterview Desk
In a letter to M Venkaiah Naidu, chairman, Rajya Sabha, senior activist Gopal Krishna of the Toxics Watch Alliance has said that the Recycling of Ships Bill, 2019 should be referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment, Forests and Climate Change to "safeguard country’s maritime environment from harmful and hazardous wastes and materials".

Post-Balakot, danger that events might spiral out of control is 'greater, not less'

By Tapan Bose*
The fear of war in South Asia is increasing. Tensions are escalating between India and Pakistan after the Indian defence minister's announcement in August this year that India may revoke its current commitment to only use nuclear weapons in retaliation for a nuclear attack, known as ‘no first use’. According to some experts who are watching the situation the risk of a conflict between the two countries has never been greater since they both tested nuclear weapons in 1998.

Worrying signs in BJP: Modi, Shah begin 'cold-shouldering' Gujarat CM, party chief

By RK Misra*
The political developments in neighbouring Maharashtra where a Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government assumed office has had a trickle down effect in Gujarat with both the ruling BJP and the Congress opposition going into revamp mode.