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sidmis

'Harassment' drives RTI activist to suicide

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sidmis

'Harassment' drives RTI activist to suicide: Right to information and right to life, both seem to have been casualties of corruption and abuse of power in Nanded district last week.

The police are investigating the possible role of a health department official in pushing a young right-to-information activist from Mukhed, some 75 km from Nanded, to suicide.

Jaipal Chavan, a government hospital superintendent, was named in the suicide note of Shivam Jankuatar (24) for having brought the activist “social shame by lodging a false criminal complaint against me”. On Wednesday morning Jankuatar handed the note to people at the local taluka office and consumed poison on the premises.

"The note maintains that Chavan had lodged a false case because Jankutuar was attempting to expose corruption by asking the official for copies of expenditure bills under the Right to Information Act,” district Superintendent of Police (SP) Vijay Singhal said.

"On September 22 the local police had booked Jankutuar for extortion after receiving a complaint from Chavan.”

State Information Commissioner Suresh Joshi said a report had been sought on the incident from authorities in Nanded, which is about 650 km from the city. "I don’t have any details on the case yet, but the commission has asked for a report from the district administration," Joshi said.

“If there is evidence of any violation under the Right to Information Act by local officials, or of the person being harassed because of using the act, then we will take up the matter with the government,” he added. The district civil surgeon was unavailable for comment.

SP Singhal said the extreme step of suicide was mysterious, and the police were also inquiring into the kind of information Jankutuar had sought.

“If he had suspected corruption, he could have approached the local police, and they would have lodged a case under the law. It is still not clear why he went to the extent of taking his life," Singhal said.

The state leads the country in putting to use the two-year-old sunshine law, with over 400 right to information applications each day probing hitherto opaque government processes.

But a senior district official, speaking on condition of anonymity for protocol reasons, maintained that attempts to extort officials on the basis of incriminating information extricated under the RTI law were not uncommon, especially in rural offices.

"As an appellate authority in Nanded, I have heard cases where the appellant using the law has arrived at a settlement with the official, and withdrawn his request for information at the hearing," he said.

Chitrangada Choudhury, Hindustan Times, Mumbai, October 02, 2007

'Harassment' drives RTI activist to suicide- Hindustan Times

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sngupta

Suicide of RTI activist not shows that so many criminals working in Govt. It is sad to all of us. My tribute to Mr. Shivam Jankuatar .

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vijendra singh

In such cases , SIC must be dutiful to punish the erring PIO sternly. Otherwise the holy RTI Act05 will also die alogwith the dieing citizen .

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nukebomb

to avoid all this I am repeatedly advocating that I will ask querry of your area and you plz ask querry of my area. because of long distances currupt people can ot haraass us. wake up my dear brothers and sisters wake up . i am ready to ask querries for you . come on .

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VICTOR MECWAN

I think this must be the first case of its kind under the RTI Act in the country.Lessons MUST be learnt to avoid such implications.We must devise "RTI Ambulance-108" ASAP for the RIGHT help.

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VICTOR MECWAN

What I meant by " AMBULANCE" is that through this medium of our website, a group should be created who is ready to help the people in need "Instantly". A group can cater to this kind of information of -Life and death situation - and avoid any such incidences. I would request all to respond as to how can this be done?What can be done to populasrise and use this "AMBULNCE 108 RTI".

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sidmis
What I meant by " AMBULANCE" is that through this medium of our website, a group should be created who is ready to help the people in need "Instantly". A group can cater to this kind of information of -Life and death situation - and avoid any such incidences"

 

Good Idea.

 

I am willing to Join. Please enroll me.

 

Sidharth

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Ketan Modi

Hello RTI Coomunity,

 

Please note that the whistle blowers' ACt is in vogue and complaints can be filed by anyone. After lodging a complaint, give them reasonable time and then file application under RTI to know the progress. This will help others from adopting such drastic stand. No RTI Community member should become desperate so as to commit suicide. Let us all stand by the one who has departed out community in most unfortunate fashion.

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swatigoyal

I have also faced serious life threat (still continued) because of my RTI applications which were pending with some Police Officers who have used all means to suppress me including making the lives of my family members hell. Just telling everyone in case you find my name in any such news article in future !

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P.Suresh

Post at #8 that suggests 'Ambulance' makes lot of sense.

 

I volunteer to be a member and request others too.

 

In fact, this idea (whatever be the final form) should find a prominent position in the home page.

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