Skip to main content

Eleventh RTI activist hacked to death in Gujarat, as NHRC "waits" to send directions to state govt to provide security

By Our Representative
With the gruesome murder  of yet another Right to Information ((RTI) activist, Nanjibhai Sondarva (35), on March 9, 2018, a resident of Manekwada village in Kotada Sangani taluka of Rajkot district, the number of citizens and activists hacked to death for using RTI in Gujarat has risen to 11.
Bringing this to light, well-known RTI activist of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, Venkatesh Nayak, has said, this is over and above at least 16 cases of assault on other RTI activists in Gujarat reported by various media sources since October 2005 when the RTI Act was operationalised.
Clubbed to death by six persons, Sondarva's father has claimed that the attack occurred soon after Nanjibhai filed an RTI application demanding transparency about funds spent on the construction of a road in his village.
According to Nayak, this was not the first time Nanjibhai had been attacked. He and other members of his family were assaulted one and a half years ago, by the village Sarpanch who was said to be furious at Nanjibhai for using RTI to expose financial irregularities in the developmental works undertaken in the village.
Meghabhai, Nanjibhai's father, has named the Sarpanch in the complaint submitted to the local police regarding the latest incident, says Nayak, adding, with this latest incident, the total number of victims, allegedly murdered for seeking information under RTI, across the country has gone up to 67.
Significantly, Nayak notes, the attack occurred three months after the National Human Human Rights Commsiion (NHRC) directive to the Gujarat Government to protect RTI activists.
Nanjibhai Sondarva
Calling the latest attack a reflection of the Gujarat model, he adds, in October, 2015, a day before the Central Information Commission organised a National Convention to celebrate 10 years of the RTI Act and which was inaugurated by the Prime Minister, another 30-year old RTI activist- Ratansinh Chaudhary was murdered for exposing financial irregularities through RTI in Banaskantha.
Pointing out that this prompting him to file a complaint with the NHRC, which took cognizance of it and followed up on this case for two years, Nayak said, in December 2017, while closing the case upon being satisfied that the police had acted in accordance with the law by sending the murder case up for trial, NHRC issued a directive to the Government of Gujarat.
The directive was, (1) that the family of the Late Ratansinh Chaudhary be provided security; and (2) the Government must ensure freedom of expression of RTI activists and HRDs (human rights defenders) and give them necessary protection as per law.
As the letter was addressed only to the District Superintendent of Police, Banaskantha, Nayak said, he alerted the NHRC's Focal Point for HRDs about the urgent necessity of sending a similar letter to the State Government, as the DSP, Banaskantha, would not be able to do much about ensuring security for RTI activists outside his jurisdiction.
While the HRD Focal Point promised to look into this discrepancy in the final action of the NHRC, the letter has still not reached the state, and another murderous attack has occurred in Gujarat.

Comments

Robin Shukla said…
Murders and encounters are terrible legacies of the state of Gujarat.

The Supreme Court of India itself has, in the past, expressed its doubts over local judiciary and administration when Modi was CM and Amit Shah his ever present companion and sidekick.
It is shameful that nothing has changed.

TRENDING

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site satyagrahis.in. The satyagraha.in article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the satyagraha.in article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

Attack on Gaza: Western media 'went out of the way' to obscure, protect perpetrators

By Sonali Kolhatkar*  Israeli forces killed more than a hundred Palestinians and wounded more than 700 on February 29, 2024 during a distribution of food aid in Gaza city, pushing the Palestinian death toll to 30,000 since October 7, 2023. The food aid massacre was straightforward in its deadliness as armed Israeli forces aimed weapons at desperate, hungry Palestinian civilians and killed many of them. It was also plausible within the context of who has firepower and who doesn’t, and wholly consistent with Israeli atrocities, especially those committed since October 7, 2023.

Living standards in 'model' Gujarat worse than major states: Govt of India document

By Rajiv Shah  Amidst raging controversy over whether the latest Government of India’s “Household Consumption Expenditure Survey 2022-23 Fact Sheet: August 2022-July 2023” suggests that India’s poverty levels are actually down to 4.5 to 5%  during the decade-long Narendra Modi rule, a state-wise breakup in the 27-page document shows that “model” Gujarat’s average consumption expenditure is far below most of the so-called developed states.

India second best place to invest, next to UAE, yet there is 'lacks support' for IT services

By Sreevas Sahasranamam, Aileen Ionescu-Somers*  The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the best place in the world to start a new business, according to the latest annual Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) survey. The Arab nation is number one for the third year in a row thanks to a big push by the government into cutting-edge technology in its efforts to diversify away from oil.

Not livable in summer, Chitrakut PM-Awas houses 'push' tribals in moneylender trap

By Bharat Dogra*  Those who are in-charge of implementing the PM-Awas scheme of rural housing can rightly take pride in what has been achieved in Dafai hamlet (Karvi block, Chitrakut district, Uttar Pradesh). All the Kol tribal families here are extremely poor and vulnerable. In a rare achievement, almost all of them have received housing assistance under PM Awas. 

Stressing on standardisation, efficiency, capitalists 'intensify' workers' exploitation

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  The productivist ideology lies at the core of the profit-making pyramid of capitalism. It perpetuates a relentless cycle characterized by busy schedules, workplace tension, an imbalance in work-life equilibrium, and a pervasive sense of alienation. 

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Development? This tribal hamlet in Chitrakut has no toilets, no electricity connections yet

By Bharat Dogra*  As we moved away from the starting point of the Bundelkhand Expressway and a famous pilgrimage site into a side-road, the hills of Chitrakut here appeared to be more and more isolated. Another turn, and we appeared to have reached almost a dead-end. However it is here that over 80 households of the Kol tribal community have been living for a long time.

WTO 'loses legitimacy': CSOs shut out of normal participation in MC13 at Abu Dhabi

By Deborah James  Given unprecedented repression of participants, the 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) at Abu Dhabi should not continue until historical and international standards and human rights for participation in global governance are restored.