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Gallantry award named after RTI activist Satish Shetty

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Atul Patankar

As reported by Pranav Kulkarni at indianexpress.com on Sep 05 2010

 

First award posthumously to Gujarat’s activist Amit Jethwa

 

A Lucknow-based forum has announced Right to Information (RTI) Gallantry Awards namedafter activist Satish Shetty.

 

The Satish Shetty RTI Gallantry Award is part of the three gallantry awards initiated by Lucknow-based National RTI Forum, and this year, it will be given posthumously to Gujarat-based RTI activist and environmentalist Amit Jethwa, who was shot dead on July 20.

 

Shetty was awarded posthumously by city-based Sajag Nagarik Manch for his fight using RTI Act. “After Satish Shetty’s murder, we had organised a meet to pay homage to him. That is when the concept struck our minds. The motive behind these awards is to pay homage to the RTI activists and boost morale of those working selflessly in this field in different parts of the country,” said Amitabh Thakur, president of the forum.

 

“The reason behind choosing Jethwa for the award is that like Shetty, he dedicated his whole life to fighting against illegal mining in protected area. Salman Khan-Chinkara case was one of the most famous cases he fought for using the RTI tool,” he said.

 

Two other RTI activists after whom the awards have been named are Lalit Mehta and Shashidhar Mishra. Mehta worked for the Right to Food and Right to Work in Palamu, Jharkhand, while Mishra had exposed scams relating to public welfare schemes in Bihar. They too were murdered reportedly by opponents over their social activism through RTI. “These two awards would be given to Biswajit Mohanty and Sanjeev Chaturvedi,” Thakur said.

 

The awards, including a memento and a certificate, would be conferred on October 13. Welcoming the award, Shetty’s brother Sandeep said: “I am thankful to all those who want to keep his (Shetty’s) name alive, but I am more interested in keeping his work alive as he never did anything for recognition.”

 

“This is a good sign for RTI. For effective implementation of the RTI Act, it’s important the protection under the proposed whistleblowers Act is extended to common citizens too,” said Jugal Rathi, a city-based RTI activist.

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