Skip to main content

RTI activist’s murder: M’shtra govt must make public, publicise info sought by Junawane

On November 1, 2018, yet another RTI user was killed in Maharashtra for seeking information to expose corruption and wrongdoing. According to media reports, Rohit Ashok Junawane was brutally attacked by nine armed assailants near his residence in Aundh, Pune and died of the injuries.
The National Campaign for Peoples’ Right to Information (NCPRI) has written to the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, demanding immediate action in the matter. The letter calls upon the government to ensure that all the information sought by Junawane is put in the public domain and widely publicized, which would act as a deterrent against such attacks in the future. The letter is also copied to the State Chief Information Commissioner of Maharashtra for necessary action.
Junawane’s killing marks the 78th murder of an RTI user who has been silenced for seeking to show truth to power. The government has failed to implement the Whistle Blowers Protection Act passed by Parliament in 2014 despite the increasing number of attacks and murders of RTI users. Maharashtra has seen the highest number of murders of RTI users.
Text of the letter signed by Anjali Bhardwaj, Nikhil Dey, Pankti Jog, Pradip Pradhan, Rakesh Dubbudu, Shaikh Ghulam Rasool and Venkatesh Nayak:
The National Campaign for Peoples’ Right to Information (NCPRI) is gravely concerned about the murder of RTI user, Rohit Ashok Junawane. According to media reports, he was brutally attacked by nine armed assailants near his residence in Aundh, Pune and died of the injuries sustained while undergoing treatment on November 1, 2018.
As per media reports, Rohit Ashok Junawane had filed an RTI application at the Pune Municipal Corporation’s Aundh ward seeking information regarding the illegal construction of the house of the main accused in the murder case and his involvement with the Mathadi Labourer’s Union, five days prior to his murder.
Media reports further stated that Mr. Junawane had also been intimated and threatened at the time of filing the RTI application. (“Milk Supplier hacked to death in Aundh by gang of nine men”, November 2nd 2018, Times of India, “Pune man sickled to death by 9 for seeking details of a construction project under RTI”, November 3rd 2018, Times Now, “Milkman killed in Pune for seeking information under RTI”, November 2nd, 2018).
The NCPRI strongly condemns the murder of Mr. Junawane. We urge the Maharashtra government to ensure a thorough investigation into the murder. The state government must ensure that all the information sought by Mr. Junawane is put in the public domain and widely publicized, which would act as a deterrent against such attacks in the future.
Considering the alarming increase in the number of attacks on RTI users in the country, it is imperative that the Whistleblowers’ Protection Act, 2011 (No. 17 of 2014), which is critical to protect people who expose corruption and wrongdoing, be effectively implemented. We hope your government will take steps to urge the central government to implement the law, and in the meantime set up necessary mechanisms to protect whistleblowers.



'Modi govt's assault on dissent': Foreign funds of top finance NGO blocked

By Rajiv Shah  In a surprise move, the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, has cancelled the foreign funding license of the well-known advocacy group, Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA), known for critically examining India's finance and banking sectors from human rights and environmental angle.

'Wedding of the century': What does Mukesh Ambani want to prove by such extravaganza?

By NS Venkataraman*  Mukesh  Ambani,   a renowned Indian industrialist who is said to be the richest person in India and  one of the richest persons in the world,   has just now conducted the wedding celebration of  his son in Mumbai,   with unheard level of lavishness in India.

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. 

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

'28% rise in sedition cases': Top global NGO alliance rates India's civil space 'repressed'

By Rajiv Shah Rating India's civic space as repressed , Civicus, a global civil society alliance, in its new report submitted to the UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) on the state of civic space in the country has said that the use of sedition law against the Modi government’s critics continues. "Under the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, sedition cases have increased by 28 per cent with over 500 cases against more than 7,000 people", it says.

How US is using Tibetans to provoke conflict with China 'ignoring' India

By Lobsang Tenzin*  On July 12, US President Joe Biden signed the Resolve Tibet Act, and Tibetans cheered for it, believing that the law promotes a resolution of the dispute between Tibet and China. Is this true? First, let's look at the issue of the ownership of Tibet. 

Over 3.8 billion animals at risk: India on crossroad in animal welfare practices

By Rupali Soni*  In a collaborative effort, the India Animal Fund and Dasra have unveiled their report , "Our Shared Future | Securing Animal Welfare, Human Wellbeing, and Sustainability in India." This landscape report provides a thorough overview of animal welfare and underscores its indispensable role within India's socio-economic and ecological frameworks. It also illustrates how animal welfare is intricately intertwined with public health, labor welfare, and climate resilience.

Tribals from 60 villages observe seed festival to 'protect' diversity of indigenous seeds

By Bharat Dogra*  Nearly sixty villagers are sitting on an open floor covered by a roof for shade but otherwise open on all sides. Women and men are present in equal numbers but the visibility of women is higher because of their colorful dresses.

Misleading ads 'manipulate, seduce, lure' to market unhealthy harmful food

By Our Representative  The Nutrition Advocacy in Public Interest (NAPI) in its new report “50 Shades of Food Advertising” has sought to expose how seductive, luring, manipulative or deceptive these advertisements can be. Consequences of such advertising are increased intake of unhealthy food products that is associated with obesity and diabetes, it says.