RTI activism: A few fearless, good people

An RTI activist was fatally shot in Mumbai, a grim reminder of the grave danger that the crusaders against corruption face. The government must wake up and provide protection to them

rahul

Rahul Dass | October 17, 2016


#Transparency   #governance   #RTI   #RTI Act   #cabinet secretariat   #CIC   #Right to Information  


Bhupendra Vira, a 60-year old RTI activist, was killed in cold blood in Mumbai. His chilling murder shows the severity of threat faced by RTI activists across the country, with those being exposed not hesitating to go to any extent to silence the voice that exposes corruption.

Vira’s RTI applications had targed a former corporator over alleged illegal constructions and he was killed barely hours after a Lokayukta order for demolition of four of the corporator’s properties.

“The government should take strong action over Vira’s killing,” Anjali Damania, who was formerly with the Aam Aadmi Party and has vociferously spoken out against corruption, told Governance Now.

“Vira had in the past sought police protection, which had been provided for sometime but later withdrawn. Enough is enough. The RTI activists should be looked after by the government as they put their lives at stake,” she said.


Read:  RTI --Signs of regressive forces at work


RTI activists have been harassed, assaulted and even bumped off, yet the voice against corruption has only grown stronger over the years. The civil society is acutely aware of the disastrous impact of corruption on the body politic.

Take the case of journalist Sandeep Kothari whose killing in 2015 prompted director-general of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, to urge an investigation. “I condemn the killing of Sandeep Kothari. I call on the authorities to investigate this crime and bring its perpetrators to trial. This is essential for journalists to be able to go on informing public debate for the benefit of Indian society as a whole,” said Bokova.

Kothari had exposed illegal mining and land grabbing in Madhya Pradesh and he used RTI to get information on his subjects. He was beaten, abducted and then burned alive.
 
Read: India ranks 4th on list of countries with strongest RTI laws

RTI activists have been rightly demanding for tightening of the laws and have repeatedly sought protection. The government needs to actively look into the safety of the RTI activists so that those who are risking their lives to take on powerful people do not pay the ultimate price of death.

Even the whistle blowers protection (amendment) bill which provides a mechanism for receiving and inquiring into public interest disclosures against acts of corruption, wilful misuse of power or discretion, or criminal offences by public servants needs to be urgently taken up. The Lok Sabha had passed it on May 13, 2015.

Read:  The Whistle Blowers Protection (Amendment) Bill, 2015


Vira’s killing should be taken as a wake-up call so that people who are doing a good thing for the society are not bumped off. Those who are campaigning against corruption are a rare breed of people who believe that they can make a significant contribution to society by rooting out corruption. They must be protected as they are the ones who are bravely moving ahead despite staring at death.

Read: The RTI Act

Comments

 

Other News

Taming turbulence in Indian aviation

The booming Indian aviation industry, among the fastest growing sectors in the world, is projected to be valued at $40 billion by 2027. But, despite robust demand for air travel across the country, more than 50 airlines have closed down in the last decade in India and most private airlines have closed with

PM Modi leaves for G7 Summit in Italy

In his first foreign visit after taking oath of office for the third time, prime minister Narendra Modi Thursday evening left for Italy to participate in the G7 Outreach Summit. “At the invitation of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, I am travelling to Apulia region in Italy to participat

Some market talk, some gossip – learnings over tea at RBI

A Fly on the RBI Wall: An Insider’s View of the Central Bank By Alpana Killawala Rupa Publications, 248 pages, Rs 595  

Coalition politics not expected to impact India’s foreign policy

Prime minister Narendra Modi has strived incessantly to bring laurels and much needed recognition for the nation since May 2014 when he was sworn in as the head of state. The poser which can be deliberated upon is this: What will be the consequential impact of the new era of coalition politics which confro

New govt`s first decision pushes for farmer welfare

The BJP-led NDA government has started its term with its first decision relating to farmer welfare. Narendra Modi took charge of office as prime minister of India for the third time on Monday, a day after he and his colleagues were sworn in by the president of India. In his fi

Narendra Modi takes oath for third term

Narendra Modi made history Sunday evening as he was sworn in by president Droupadi Murmu for a third successive term. Modi thus becomes the first prime minister since Jawaharlal Nehru to have comptered two full terms and beginning a third consecutive term. In the swearing-in c

Visionary Talk: Amitabh Gupta, Pune Police Commissioner with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now


Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook Twitter Google Plus Linkedin Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter