Odisha: RTI activists share their stories on attack on them | Bhubaneswar News


BHUBANESWAR: Santosh Mohanty, a native of Chhaitana panchayat in Puri district, was attacked on August 28 after he sought some information through the right to information (RTI) act regarding the progress of work under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) in his panchayat.
He suspected corruption in the MGNREGA work in his area and filed an RTI copy to know the details of works done so far. He was vocal about many issues related to the welfare of local people. “I did not know that some people would kidnap me and attack me because of this RTI petition. Eight people including a local Sarpanch had attacked me. Three people have been arrested so far,” he added.
Another RTI activist Manoranjan Jena from Kendrapada district had the similar story. Like Jena and Mohanty, many activists shared their ordeal before a panel of eight people at a state-level public hearing on the attacks on RTI activists and the need for whistle-blowers protection. It was organised by the Odisha Soochana Adhikar Abhijan (OSSAA) in association with the National Campaign for Peoples’ Right to Information (NCPRI) and SAFAR.
The activists said they have been facing threats, and attacks. Some RTI activists have been murdered for exposing corruption and wrongdoing. More than 60 RTI activists have been physically attacked and implicated in false cases during the last 12 years, they added.
Former Supreme Court judge Justice Madan B Lokur attending the programme expressed concern over the increasing attack on RTI activists. He said the State Legal Services Authority should come forward to help the activists, who are being implicated in false cases.
Pradeep Pradhan from OSSAA, who is coordinating the two-day event, said the state government should enact whistle-blowers protection Act to protect the RTI activists. “We request the government to immediately accept the FIR filed by RTI activists and take action against the attackers,” he added.





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