help save the lives of right to information activists sign now

The Honble Prime Minister Dr. Man Mohan Singh,
Government of India,
South Block,
New Delhi-110011

With copies for necessary action to the Hon. Chief Ministers of all the States of India

Respected Sir ,

We , The Undersigned , wish to bring to your notice that the RTI activists and RTI users are being threatened, bullied, and intimidated and all these unwanted activities are increasing exponentially with each passing day , Many of them resulting in the murders of the RTI activists and RTI users . Each such murder is the murder of honesty , murder of transparency , death blow to the RTI act and murder of Indian Democracy. Filing an RTI is becoming like walking on the edge of a sword . Please read on

1- Sri Dattatray Patil, an activist from Ichalkaranji in the Kolhapur district, was found dead. This was one of the many attacks against activists in Maharashtra.
2- Sri Satish Shetty was brutally murdered in Talegaon near Pune.. The reports and records clearly indicate he was fighter for our nation in the plain dress against the deep routed corruption. Like many other leading RTI Activist he used RTI Act to unearth the corruption.
3- New Delhi resident Sri Ajay Kumar used RTI through city authority against private buildings that were encroaching on government land under the aegis of a local politician , He was just being a law-abiding citizen. He couldn't imagine his query would put him in the hospital.
Sri Ajay was attacked by a mob of two dozen that allegedly backed the politician.
4- Sri Shashidhar Mishra of Begusarai, who was murdered by unknown assailants , perhaps for knowing too much. Sri Mishra, a local RTI activist who worked tirelessly to expose corruption at the panchayat and block levels, Unidentified motorcycle-borne criminals shot him dead at his Phulwaria village residence under Bararuni-Phulwaria police station in Bihar.
5- There are many attacks on Kheema Ram, a member of India's Dalit or "untouchable" communities, who has filed over 400 RTI applications. The 35-year-old father of three, who lives in rural Rajasthan want to use the law to fight this discrimination. Using RTI, Kheema has outed the manager of a cooperative bank who embezzled funds and fought for equal pay of male and female manual laborers. But it hasn't been without risk. Kheema Ram has been attacked over two dozen times.
6- In NEW DELHI , Two MCD engineers assistant engineer Umesh Singh and executive engineer B M N Rao were arrested in northeast district after they
allegedly threatened an activist who had filed an RTI application seeking details of illegal construction in Shahdara (North). The two had gone to
the house of the complainant Sri Mohit Sharma in Dilshad Garden and threatened him
7- Sri Vitthal Gite (39), An RTI activist from Aurangabad ,who had exposed irregularities in a village school in Beed was killed following a clash between two groups. The rival group, which inflicted serious injuries on the activist, was led by the son of the president of the educational society that runs the school, Sainath Vidyalaya.
8- The 30-year-old Sri Sola Ranga Rao of Andhra Pradesh, an RTI activist, in Krishna district was found murdered near his house because of the RTI application he had filed with a district office regarding funding of the village's drainage system.
Even the information commission suspected the involvement of the public information officer (PIO) of MPDO in Ranga Rao's alleged murder.
9- Two men shot and critically injured Right to Information activist Sri Arun Sawant at Badlapur, Thane. Sri Sawant had gone to the Badlapur Municipal Council (BMC) to file an RTI application. The shooting happened on his way back, at around 1.30 pm, on Katrap Road, which was 100 meters from the Council office.
10- RTI activist Sri Venkatesh of Eranapalyta was supari killed by Lohit Raja alias T C raja . Police first thought Venkatesh was killed in an accident but the post mortem report revealed it was murder.
Sri Venkatesh of Eranapalyta had sought information under the RTI Act regarding encroachment of government land in Jnanabharathi. This angered some people involved in land grabbing there and to eliminate him, they paid Lohit Raja.
Police said Raja and his associates murdered Venkatesh and made it look like an accieent. But when the post mortem revealed it was murder, the case was handed over to the CCB which arrested Raja later on.
These are a few of the reported cases, there are many other unreported cases from across the country and threats to the lives of the info-activists are looming large.
What we foresee is that such incidences will escalate in the future, given the nature of governance we have now resulting in near complete breakdown in law and order. Each such death is a permanent blot on democracy.
The state, by passing the RTI Act, is allowing citizens to use information as a weapon. But it is falling short in bringing the real culprits to book or giving protection to the whistleblowers , undermining its own commitment to truth i.e. the governments commitment on the protection of whistleblowers .
Cases pertaining to harassment of applicants are being closed summarily without imposing penalty to the guilty officers .As per the Act, any officer refusing to part with information is penalised Rs.250 per day from his salary.

We demand
1-either a sitting judge or a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in all such cases and the report be made public within 30 days,
2- Any request from any of the RTI Applicants who faces the life threats , must immediately be
handed over for enquiry to the police officer of the rank of Dy. S.P. or above and be disposed off within 48 hours and be made public,
3- Enactment of a uniform and effective law is all states of India for protection of the whistleblowers ,
4- An independent study about Implementation of section 19(8)(b) and section 20 of RTI act in letter n spirit by all info-commissioners of central and all state info-commissions ,

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Nancy ShahBy:
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