New Murder in India Sparks Roy Demand for Protections

4 March 2011

Aruna Roy, the convener of the Indian National Advisory Council’s group on transparency on March 3 requested that the council examine a proposed whistleblower bill that she said would be “wholly inadequate” to stop the killing of Right to Information Act users. 

She also demanded an official probe a probe into the killing of Jharkhand activist Niyamat Ansari.  

Ansari had campaigned against improper implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGS). He was beaten to death March 2, allegedly by 12 Maoists

Roy wrote, “The victimisation of people using RTI and MGNREGS to question a corrupt system suggests power of these legislations but also points the complicity of local administration by protecting the offenders… we need to provide support and protection for anticorruption efforts by citizens.”

“The rural development ministry is awaiting the report on the incident from the Jharkhand government,” a ministry official said.

An overview of the RTI martyr situation by Rupam Jain Nair was published this week by Agence France Press. (Also see recent Freedominfo.org report by Amitabh Thakur.)  Another fairly recent overview appeared in LiveMint.com.

Separately, the Punjab government recently said it was nearly finished with a policy for giving protection RTI activists, according to a media report.

Kabir, a voluntary organization that has been spreading awareness about RTI to encourage its use, has initiated a “RTI-brotherhood” campaign to provide safety to whistleblowers.

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