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

India failing to dictate diplomatic preferences of Nepal, Bhutan, is unfairly blaming Beijing: Chinese daily

By Our Representative
In a sharply-worded editorial, a top Chinese media outfit, described by BBC as state-run, has said, commenting on India's foreign relations with its neighbours, that "speculation and suspicion" is "certainly not diplomacy". Published in "China Daily", the largest circulating English Monday-to-Saturday newspaper with branches across the world, the editorial notes (September 20) that "several recent events" in Nepal and Bhutan, are "gnawing worrywarts in New Delhi".
The editorial -- which comes close on the heels of a sharp critique of India's foreign policy in a state-supported Russian media outfit, Sputnik International, calling India's anti-Pak diplomacy as having "gone awry" following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "half-baked" push for anti-terror drill down "others' throat" -- says, the " worrywarts" include "Nepalese troops taking part in a joint…

Ahmedabad, GIFT, Adani city get 1.68 lakh acre ft Narmada water; Gujarat's rural areas just 4.27 AF: Letter to CM

Counterview Desk
Well-known farmer rights leader Sagar Rabari, in an open letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, has demanded a transparent account of Narmada water, saying, while he has received a "routine reply" from him to his earlier, the data emerging from his RTI application show huge quantity of water being directed to Ahmedabad, the 10 km stretch of Sabarmati for the Ahmedabad riverfront, and nearby elite urban areas, including the Adanis' Shantigram township and GIFT City.

Gujarat BJP MLAs, youth leader "incited" attack on North Indians: Cong releases video

Counterview Desk
Senior Gujarat Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil, currently in charge of Bihar and national spokesperson, All-India Congress Committee, has sent a legal notice to chief minister Vijay Rupani threatening criminal case and civil defamation suit for accusing him with "baseless statement" that he was responsible for attacks on north Indians in Gujarat.

17 lakh Jharkhand elderly, widows, differently abled do not receive pension: Public hearing told, aadhaar is a hurdle

By Our Representative
Hundreds of elderly, widows, single women and differently-abled persons from different districts of Jharkhand gathered near the Raj Bhavan in Ranchi for a public hearing organized by the Jharkhand Right to Food Campaign and Pension Parishad demanding the right to universal social security pensions ahead of World Elderly Day on October 1.

Ethnocide in Caribbean island filmed following award winning docufilm on Jamaica's anti-colonial Indian roots

International awards winner for Best Feature Documentary Linda Aïnouche for “Dreadlocks Story” (2014), which shows how Indians are entangled in the Jamaican society, and how Hinduism was a source of inspiration for the Rastafari movement, is all set to release her new documentary, “Marooned in the Caribbean”, which aims at documenting the awful desolating living conditions that Raizal people, the native inhabitants of San Andres Archipelago, endure.
Sons of slaves, these islanders have fallen prey to what the Colombian government calls Colombianization. “It’s a process”, according to her, “which kills the Raizal culture; it’s the killing of the Raizal soul. Colombianization subjugates Afro-descendants of San Andres to an ethnocide.”

Explorer, director and producer, Linda Aïnouche writes exclusively for Counterview: ***
Nobody escapes from blood and thunder in Colombia, and definitely not in the archipelago of San Andres, situated closer to Managua and Kingston than Bogota. The Raizal p…

India to deport Rohingya refugees, as the world moves towards prosecuting Myanmar for genocide

By Tapan Bose*
Seven Rohingya Muslims refugees who were held at a detention centre in Assam since 2012 will be handed over to Myanmar. The Supreme Court of India has refused to stop their deportation. The new Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gagoi said, "We are not inclined to interfere on the decision taken".

An elite Kutir set up by Modi far from the "madding" crowd: This Gandhi museum is formal, unapproachable

By Rajiv Shah
Have you ever heard of a Gandhi museum, sough to be projected as the “largest” on the Mahatma, yet totally inaccessible, in sharp contrast to Ahmedabad’s humble, approachable and unassuming Gandhi Ashram on the banks of Sabarmati, set up by the Mahatma during the heydays of the freedom movement? It exists about 30 kilometres away, its idea was conceived by none other than a person who has today become even more inaccessible than he ever was: Narendra Modi, India's Prime Minister.

Accused of being RSS plant, Modi man, Hyderabad Urdu varsity chancellor asks President to probe "irregularities"

Counterview Desk
Refused entry in the Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU), the central university's newly appointed chancellor Firoz Bakht Ahmed, who claims to be grand nephew of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, has, in a letter to the President of India, said that MANUU vice-chancellor (V-C) Dr Aslam Parvaiz has accused him of being an RSS plant and a Modi man, whose sole aim is to "interfere in the working of the university".

Post-MJ Akbar resignation: #MeToo movement and fears of backlash

By Sheshu Babu*
For the last few days, #MeToo movement has picked up momentum and many women are coming out with horrific tales of severe harassment in their past lives. They are not afraid anymore to expose famous persons including those at ministerial levels. As a senior journalist Neeraja Chowdhury opined (“An exit, a beginning”, October 18, 2018, indianexpress.com), "The #MeToo revelations are like the eruption of a volcano which was imminent, given the journey working women have covered. It was not easy to make public what they had gone through,and take on powerful men.”

History less known: Kasturba's role as an independent woman and a freedom fighter in her own right

By Nandini Oza*
Even the most deserving of women do not find a place that equals their worth in history. Kasturba is one such woman whose contribution to India’s struggle for freedom has been exemplary, and yet, it has not received the recognition it deserves. Kastur Makhanji Kapadia was born in the year 1869, the same year and in the same town of Porbandar in Gujarat as Gandhiji. In fact she was older than Gandhiji by a few months.