Blood on the anniversary

BY NANDITA JHA| IN Special Reports | 21/10/2015
The RTI decade—I. The first of a three-part series on ten years of the Right to Information Act.
Research by NANDITA JHA

 

The Right to Information Act came into force on  October 12, 2005. Last week people across the country observed eight years of this Act in various ways.  But as if to remind us of the price that has been paid for the privilege this act confers, the same week saw yet another murder of an RTI activist. Ratansinh Chaudhary was  murdered on October 17  in Garamdi village in Suigamtaluka of Banaskantha district, Gujarat.

He was helping his friend Harkhabhai Ramjibhai in filing an RTI application to seek information on cash given to the flood affected  families in Garamdi and Khatau villages in July. The Times of  India reported that the query sought information under "proactive disclosure" by the district and panchayat authorities. The paper quoted a resident of the one of those villages as saying that the  RTI reply showed “that people who were not affected by the floods received cash doles worth Rs 55,000 and Rs 90,000 while the actual victims got just Rs 2,500."

Following this disclosure four people of Chaudhary's village apparently accosted him and beat him to death.

Those working on the RTI issue put the deaths so far  in ten years at 50, including Chaudhury. The estimates vary from 47 to 50. The Hoot tried very hard to dig up actual recorded deaths with names and came up with only 32.  Those who can supplement our list are requested to send us any additional information that they may have.

 

Our research shows the following year-wise and state-wise break up:

 

Deaths of activists

Year-wise total number of deaths of RTI activists

Year

No of Deaths

2008

2

2009

1

2010

11

2011

6

2012

3

2013

4

2014

2

2015

3

 

                                                                   Those who died

1

Lalit Mehta

2008

Civil Engineer

Jharkhand

2

Kameshwar Yadav

2008

Activist associated with CPI(ML)

Giridh, Jharkhand

3

Venkatesh

2009

RTI activist

Banglore, Karnataka

4

Babbu Singh

2010

UP police home guard

Uttar Pradesh

5

V Balasubrmanian

2010

RTI activist

Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu

6

Arun Sawant

2010

RTI activist

Thane, Maharshtra

7

Vishram Laxman Dodiya

2010

 

Surat, Gujarat

8

Satish Shetty

2010

 

Pune, Maharashtra

9

Shashidhar Mishra

2010

RTI activist

Begusarai, Bihar

10

Sola RangaRao

2010

RTI activist

Andhra Pradesh

11

Vitthal Gite

2010

a farmer and a flour-mill owner

Aurangabad, Maharashtra

12

Datta Patil

2010

Farmer

Kolhapur, Maharashtra

13

Amit Jethwa

2010

 

Ahmedabad, Gujarat

14

Ramdas Patil Ghadegaonkar

2010

Milkman

Nanded, Maharashtra

15

Amit Kapasia

2011

Surat-based builder

Surat, Gujarat

16

Shela Masood

2011

Environmentalist

Madhya Pradesh

17

Niyamat Ansari

2011

NREGA activist

Jharkhand

18

Nadeem Saiyed

2011

RTI activist

Ahmdebad, Gujarat

19

Ram Vilas Singh

2011

Panchayatsamiti member

Bihar

20

Jabbardan Gadhvi

2011

RTI activist

Gujarat

21

Rajesh Yadav

2012

RTI activist

Bihar

22

Premnath Jha

2012

RTI activist

Mumbai

23

S Bhuvaneswaran

 2012

 

Kolathur, Tamil Nadu

24

VasudevaAdiga

2013

RTI activist

Karnataka

25

Ram Kumar

2013

Lawyer

Muzaffarpur, Bihar

26

Shimbu Ram Bishnoi

2013

RTI activist

Jodhpur, Rajasthan

27

Abrar Shaikh

2013

Shop Owner

Uttar Pradesh

28

Rajesh Suri

2014

Lawyer

Dehradun,  Uttarakhand

29

Sanjay Tyagi

2014

RTI Activist

Merrut, UP

30

Guru Prasad Mishra

2015

RTI activist and member of Aam Aadmi Party

Uttar Pradesh

31

Jawahar Lal Tiwary

2015

RTI activist

Muzaffarpur, Bihar

32

Ratansinh Chaudhary

2015

RTI activist

Gujarat

They are the martyrs whose killings underscore the powerful potential of the Right to Information Act to expose wrong doing at every level.

 

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