Stop crucifixion of RTI activists
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Shri Pranab Mukherjee,
President of India.
There is a matter of great concern which we wish to bring to your attention. We hope that you will find some way to intervene and get a course correction. A sentence of five months imprisonment has been pronounced on four champions of Right To Information: Nikhil Dey, Naurtibai, Ram Karan and Chotu. In 1998 when they were pioneering the national RTI movement in rural Rajasthan, they had gone to meet the Sarpanch to get information from Public records. They had already visited government offices at many levels 73 times. Finally they carried a written order from the BDO directing the Sarpanch to give the records. Since this would expose corruption the Sarpanch instead of giving the information assaulted them and filed a false complaint with police.
They have now been sentenced to five months imprisonment.
RTI is slowly transforming our nation into a true participatory democracy- the Swaraj that we desire. RTI users are being routinely deprecated, abused, assaulted and even murdered. Now a new weapon has been unleashed: the threat of imprisonment. This is an attempt to discredit the beginning of the RTI movement, its pioneers and champions. It is the most serious attack on citizen's fundamental right. The nation needs to think seriously when the best champions of democracy are vilified and threatened. These four are incapable of resorting to violence and anyone who knows them will vouch for this.
As the President of this nation please act to stop such condemnable actions. We are hopeful that you will share your thoughts on this to defend RTI and democracy.
Former Central Information Commissioner
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