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Police detain 66 RTI activists at Rashtrapati Bhawan seeking to petition President


By Our Representative
On August 1, several activists who had gone to the Rashtrapati Bhawan to petition the President to appeal to him to withhold assent to the RTI Amendment Bill were detained by the police and taken to the Mandir Marg police station. They were planning to hand over petitions the President, which are claimed have been endorsed by lakhs of people.
The petitions were sent using online platforms, sending emails to the President and via postcard campaigns and signatures collected through campaigns held on the ground, a National Campaign for Peoples’ Right to Information (NCPRI) note said, adding, people had gathered in the noon at Rashtrapati Bhawan at Gate No 38, which has a facility for receiving memorandums of the public.
As people were reaching the Rashtrapati Bhawan, the police turned up in large numbers and detained all those who were present and took them in buses to Mandir Marg Police Station. None of the people who had gathered there were allowed to submit their petitions at the Rashtrapati Bhawan secretariat. The police detained 66 people.
Many were not allowed to reach the Rashtrapati Bhawan and were turned away. Later, the police allowed only 3 people to go the Rashtrapati Bhawan and deliver some of the petitions. Subsequently, the others were allowed to leave.
Meanwhile, NCPRI has launched “Use RTI to Save RTI” campaign – launched in many states, including Odisha, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Kerala. Under this campaign, on the first of every month RTI applications will be filed across the country.
On August 1 itself, nearly 100 questions through RTI applications have been filed (click HERE to access) seeking information on issues ranging from social security, defence procurement including Rafale aircrafts, land acquisitions, ration, MGNREGA, Unnao rape case, functioning of the Lokpal, functioning of hospitals, deployment of teachers and many more. A portal (click HERE) where all the RTI applications and replies will be uploaded has been developed on where details of the campaign will be available.

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