Indian RTI Activists Gather for National Meeting

11 March 2011

Some 500 participants are attending a three-day national convention on right to information in Shillong, India, titled “Reclaim Democracy,” from March 10-12.

Aruna Roy, social activist and member of the National Advisory Council, addressed the convention, saying,  “The Right to Information Act is the most fundamental law this country has seen as it can be used from the local panchayat to Parliament, from a nondescript village to posh Delhi and from ration shops to the 2G scam.” Government departments should be proactive in giving information under Section 4 of the act, she added.

Regarding intimidation and harm to RTI activists, Roy said: “They should be accorded the status of human rights activists and whistleblowers to safeguard them from imminent threats from the mafia and governments.”

Noting that about 20,000 RTI applications are pending before the central information commission, former chief information commissioner of India Wajahat Habibullah warned that long waits will render the act useless.

The 3rd national RTI convention of the National Campaign for the People’s Right to Information (NCPRI) is being hosted in Shillong by the Meghalaya Right to Information Movement (MRTIM).

The convention is expected to conclude with the adoption of a declaration.

For a longer account see a report in The Telegraph.

India Today  has done an article on RTI martyrs.

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