Skip to main content

Arrest Rajasthan BJP MLA who attacked Accountability Yatra: Top RTI activist Aruna Roy at Jaipur convention

By Pankti Jog*
Over 6,000 people gathered from 33 districts of Rajasthan on the culmination of 100 days’ Accountability Yatra, which began on December 1, 2015 at Ajmer. The yatra, led by Magsasay Award winning Right to Information (RTI) pioneer Aruna Roy, attracted national attention in January following a gruesome incident in which a mob led by a BJP MLA attacked activists, injuring several of them.
The 100-day-long campaign was conducted by tens of civil society and community-based organizations of Rajasthan, gathered on the platform called Suchana Evam Rojgaar Adhikar Abhiyaan (Information and Employment campaign).
The campaign focused on contentious issues relating to efforts being made to undermine food security, National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), old-age pension, and right to education and health. In registered over 9,000 complaints online on the Rajasthan Sampark online grievance redressal with a login ID, which would enable the campaigners to track complaint status and quality of redressal.
The yatra, which ended at Jaipur, saw as many as 300 people’s hearings in all the districts of Rajasthan.
One of the main issues raised related to why were Rajasthan government-run computer service centres by called e-mitras (friends) for citizens charging anything between Rs 100 and Rs 300 for e-seva (services) that should be provided for just about Rs 20 or 30.
Hundreds of people complained of the high charges, and demanded disclosing price tag for different services rendered by e-mitras. After a month-long campaign on the issue, the state government was forced to issue a circular for displaying the price list on the walls of the offices which run e-mitra centres.
The campaign revealed that the Rajasthan government had decided to close down over 24,000 government schools. It also revealed that people fail to get treatment in government hospitals, though the doctors who work in there carry out private practice within the vicinity of the hospital. Further, it was revealed, old age people run from from pillar to post as banks refuse to disburse their pension on time.
The yatra placed the whole issue of lack of accountability and failure of government through street plays and puppet shows. This was so effective that, on January 16, the yatra was attacked by BJP MLA Kunwarlal Meena from Aklera, Jhalawad. Witnesses said, Meena personally beat up women participants of the yatra, evidence of which has been submitted to the state government in the form of video footage. No action has been taken against the MLA.
The yatra demanded a separate legislation to be passed in the Rajasthan state assembly -- accountability law. The first draft of the proposed bill was prepared during the yatra and has been submitted to the state government. Salient features of the draft accountability bill include:
  1. Job chart for every government official/employee.
  2. Time bound service delivery mechanism.
  3. Provision for penalty, if public servant fails to observe the job chart.
  4. Provision for compensation to the citizen.
  5. Provision for criminal proceedings on demand of bribe. 
The yatra convention demanded immediate arrest of the MLA who had attacked activists. It also demanded that there should be a public place for demonstrations and freedom of expression at Jaipur and Ajmer. Aruna Roy and Nikhil Dey of the Majdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan particularly put forward this demand to allow people to express their views freely.
Aruna Roy announced that, over the next two months, district level yatras and rallies would be held throughout the state, and on May 10, 2016, an indefinite dharna (sit-in) will begin in Jaipur till the accountability law is passed.
All political parties were invited for the convention to express their views on this. While the BJP abstained, Congress, CPI, CPI-ML and Aam Aadmi Party sent their representatives, and supported the idea.
---
*Senior activist with Mahiti Adhikar Gujarat Pahel, Ahmedabad

Comments

TRENDING

Noam Chomsky, top scholars ask NRIs to take stand on human rights violations in India

Counterview Desk
Renowned world scholars, including Noam Chomsky, James Petras, Angela Davis, Fredric Jameson, Bruno Latour, Ilan Pappe, Judith Butler, among others, have issued a statement castigating the Narendra Modi government for allegedly creating an environment of fear through arrests, intimidation and violence.

Actionable programme for 2019 polls amidst lynch mobs, caste violence, hate mongering

Counterview Desk
Reclaiming the Republic, a civil rights network, has released a document prepared under the chairmanship of Justice AP Shah (retired) -- and backed, among others, by Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan, bureaucrat-turned-human rights activist Harsh Mander, economist Prabhat Patnaik, Right to transparency activist Anjali Bhardwaj and social scientist Yogendra Yadav  (click HERE for full list) -- with the "aim" of putting forth policy and legislative reforms needed to “protect” and “strengthen” the Constitutional safeguards for India’s democratic polity.

India under Modi "promoted" crony business, protected financial fraudsters, fueled bigotry

By Sandeep* and Rahul Pandey**
Narendra Modi's ascension to power was accompanied with jubilation and expectation. His supporters were expecting an end to era of corruption and initiation of good governance which was described as Achche Din. His party's adherence to idea of nationalism was believed to make India a vibrant country and guide India to be a world leader. He gave the slogan of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas' conveying that his government was for all.
Corruption The government system is infested with corruption. A minimum of 10% is siphoned off from government schemes and projects, some of which goes back to political party in power and remaining is pocketed by various administrative, executive and political functionaries. This corruption continues and has increased. Now an additional Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) person working as Official on Special Duty or some equivalent position in every government department also has a share in this booty.
The Narendra M…

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.

Inviting Rajapaksa to India "insult" to 1,40,000 Tamils killed by Sri Lankan army

Counterview Desk
In the context of Sri Lankan opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa being invited in India, about 75 human rights activists*, claiming to be concerned about rights violations during the civil war in Sri Lanka, especially in 2009, have joined together to express their dissent through a statement.

Modi wants Pak govt be held responsible for JeM terror strike: World doesn't agree

By Sandeep Pandey*
I went to participate in a candle light homage paying event at Dr BR Ambedkar's statue organised by about 200 Dalit students on Hazratganj main crossing in Lucknow on February 16, 2019 evening, two days after the dastardly terrorist act in Pulwana, Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), in which 44 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel was killed.

Post-advisory, Govt of India appears reluctant to ban e-cigarettes, "harmful" to kids

By Rajiv Shah
Is the Government of India dilly-dallying over the issue of banning e-cigarettes, which have been declared by anti-tobacco activists across the world as providing “an entryway to nicotine addiction”, especially among the kids? It would seem so, if the latest developments are any guide.

A Godse legacy? BJP rulers have "refrained" from calling Gandhi Father of the Nation

By Dr Hari Desai*
What an agony! On one hand, the entire India is celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but on the other side, so-called Hindu Mahasabha members have been found mock-enacting the killing of the Mahatma and celebrating the murder by distributing sweets!

No aadhaar, no ration? Hard blow by Gujarat govt on poor and marginalized

By Pankti Jog*
Only those who have aadhaar registration and linked it with ration card will get ration from a Public Distribution System (PDS) shop. This decision of the Gujarat government has hit very badly thousands of poor and marginalized communities of Gujarat, especially during the drought year.

World Bank needs a new perspective on development, not just a new president

By Maju Varghese*
The resignation of the World Bank President Jim Yong Kim was an unexpected development given the fact that he had three more years to complete his tenure. Resignations at such a high level after bidding for a second term is unusual which prompts people to think what would have led to the act itself.