Skip to main content

Tell State Human Rights Commission to work out mechanism to protect RTI activists in Gujarat: NHRC told

By Our Representative
In an unusual move, the Human Rights Defenders Alert India (HRDAI), a national network for the protection and promotion of human rights defenders, has asked the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to work out ways to influence Gujarat’s State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) “to publicly acknowledge” the importance and legitimacy of the work of human rights defenders, and create "lasting mechanism" to protect RTI activists from frequent attacks.
The move comes close on the heels of the murder of Ratansinh Chaudhary, an RTI activist of Gujarat, on October 17. Chaudhury, who belongs to Banaskantha district in North Gujarat, had sought to expose a systematic racket of embezzlement of public money and swindling of compensation amount meant for flood-affected people of his village.
So far, eight RTI activists have been murdered in Gujarat, two this year alone, which is next only to Maharashtra, which has seen the murder of nine RTI activists over the last 10 years. In all, 33 deaths of RTI applicants have been reported in the country.
On June 15, activist-journalist, Shailesh Patel of Surendranagar district, Gujarat, was murdered after he sought information under RTI on cases filed against a local bootlegger (click HERE to read).
The HRDAI move is likely to embarrass NHRC, as its senior officials have been strongly insisting that the NHRC has “no jurisdiction” over state human rights commissions, and it cannot take up human rights cases with state bodies are processing. Critics say, Gujarat’s SHRC is “extremely weak” in pursuing human rights cases.
HRDAI also wanted the NHRC to also tell the SHRC “to convene meetings of all state human rights institutions in the state (women, minorities, right to information, disability, children etc.) to ensure that a coordinated strategy is developed within Gujarat for the protection of the rights of human rights defenders”.
Chaudhary, 54, belonged to Garabadi village of Sui Gam taluka of Banaskantha district, and is known to be socially active for the last five years, raising voice against the prevailing corruption and financial embezzlement in the district and village panchayat administration.
HRDAI’s letter to the NHRC says, Chaudhary was murdered because he had dared take up the issue of flood compensation “very seriously” pursuing it with “higher authorities up to the level of the chief minister of Gujarat.”
Giving details of the incident, the letter says, on his way back to home with his son, on a motorbike, four persons from his village “hit him with lathis”; the bike “fell down and his son ran from the spot to save him. The assailants said, ‘You are the one who are making applications’. In the attack Chaudhary was badly beaten. He was then taken to hospital. He succumbed to injuries on the way to hospital.”
Pointing out that following the floods hit Banskantha in Gujarat this year, the letter says, the state government had announced a compensatory package, “irregularities” came to light in disbursement of money, with many people in the village complaining “not receiving relief after the survey”, while others got “lakhs of rupees.”
The letter underlines, the RTI replies confirmed Chaudhary’s apprehensions – they showed that “people who were not affected by the floods received cash doles worth Rs 55,000 and Rs 90,000 while the actual victims got just Rs 2,500.”

Comments

TRENDING

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.

Mental health: India's 95% patients "deprived" of medical care, treatment gap 70%

By Moin Qazi*
Among the many challenges India faces, the most underappreciated is the ongoing mental health crisis. Mental illness is actually India’s ticking bomb. An estimated 56 million Indians suffer from depression, and 38 million from anxiety disorders. For those who suffer from mental illness, life can seem like a terrible prison from which there is no hope of escape; they are left forlorn and abandoned, stigmatized, shunned and misunderstood.

Modi model? "Refusal" to build Narmada's micro canals, keep Kutch dry; help industry

By Medha Patkar*
This is the latest photograph of the Kutch Branch Canal (KBC) of the Sardar Sarovar, as of April 8! What does it show, expose, and what memories do you recall? Is it dry or dead? Is it a canal or a carcass of the same?

Bill Gates "promoting" GMO, Bt cotton, like cartels that have roots in Hitler's Germany

By Our Representative
World-renowned environmental leader and ecologist Dr Vandana Shiva has expressed concern that Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft Corporation, has joined the bandwagon of “a poison cartel of three" – Monsanto and Bayer, Syngenta and ChemChina, Dow and DuPont – all of whom allegedly have “roots in Hitler’s Germany and finding chemicals to kill people”.

Indian talc products contain "contaminated" asbestos structures, can cause cancer: Study

Counterview Desk
A recent study, using polarizing light microscopy, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), electron diffraction, and X-ray analysis on multiple over-the-counter Indian talc products for the presence of asbestos, has concluded that large quantities of body talc products are likely to pose a public health risk for asbestos-related diseases, especially for the cancers related to asbestos exposure.

Why are you silent on discrimination against Dalit jawans? Macwan questions Modi

By Rajiv Shah
Close on the heels of releasing his book in Gujarati, "Bhed Bharat", which lists 319 cases of atrocities against Dalits and Adivasis across the country over the last five years, well-known Gujarat Dalit rights leader Martin Macwan has shot an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, telling him the reasons why he does not want vote for the BJP.

Jharkhand Adivasi lynched to death by mob "chanting" Jai Shri Ram: Fact-finding team

Counterview Desk
On April 10, 2019, Prakash Lakda, a 50-year old Adivasi of Jurmu village of Gumla’s Dumri block, was lynched to death by a mob of men from the Sahu community of neighbouring Jairagi village. Three other victims from Jurmu – Peter Kerketta, Belarius Minj and Janerius Minj – sustained severe injuries due to the beating by the mob. A fact-finding team of Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JJM), comprising of several activists and representatives of member organisations, conducted a fact-finding inquiry into the incident on April 14-15.

Investigation shows Narmada downstream "seriously" polluted. Reason: apathy, greed

By Rohit Prajapati, Krishnakant, Swati Desai*
Our investigation regarding quality of water flowing in the Narmada river downstream of the Sardar Sarovar Dam (SSD), dated April 6, 2019, between 11.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. reiterates, what is commonly known now, that the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) is planned without considering its impact on the downstream Narmada River stretch of 161 kilometres, its ecology, biodiversity and fishery, and lakhs of people living close to and dependent on the river directly or indirectly. This, in turn, has led to its present disastrous state.

Emergence of a rare Dalit teacher in IIT-Kanpur "disturbed" certain faculty members

By PS Krishnan, IAS (Retd)*
Dr Subrahmanyam Sadrela, a faculty member in the Department of Aerospace Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Kanpur since January 1, 2018, and one of the rare Dalit members of the faculty in IIT group of institutions, is facing the threat of revocation of his PhD thesis, and thereby also jeopardizing his job and career.

RTE in remote areas? Govt of India "plans" to close down 2.4 lakh schools

By Srijita Majumder*
The Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009, came into effect on April 1, 2010, for the first time made it obligatory on the part of the State to provide free and compulsory education to all children from 6-14 years of age in India. The Act, despite its limitations, had progressive elements like neighbourhood schools, community participation, ban on corporal punishment, no detention, continuous and comprehensive evaluation and it hence it appeared that India was not far from achieving universal elementary education.