RTI Activist mercilessly beaten up by goons in Barang block of Cuttack district, Odisha
In view of huge corruption and irregularities in every development project and welfare programme by Govt. officials and BJD leaders in Odisha, the Social activists and concerned citizens are seen getting upset and adopting various strategies to fight it out at their level. RTI has been a potential tool to use it to expose corruption and irregularities in welfare programme like NREGA, Allotment of Ration Card under NFSA, Indira Awas Yojaa, Biju Pucca Ghara Yojana etc.
Sri Akula Ch. Sahu, Sanamunduli village under Barang police station of Cuttack district (M- 8342993369), a social activist by profession had been using RTI without being affiliated with any group or organisation since 2015 to expose corruption and irregularities and misappropriation of fund sanctioned under welfare programme. As reported by media, lakhs of rupees is being misappropriated openly by local BJD touts and block officials in Barang. As young activist, Sri Akul could not tolerate having seen magnitude of corruption and decided to use RTI to expose them.
He filed multiple RTI Applications to the PIO, office of Barang Block to get the information about details of beneficiaries availed houses under IAY and Biju Pucca Gruha Yojana and Ration card received by the people. It needs to be mentioned here that many affluent and rich people closely connected with Ruling party Biju Janata Dal had taken multiple houses under Rural Housing Scheme. After obtaining this information, he tried to expose it and filed complaint to higher authorities seeking an enquiry into alleged corruption. Niranjan Behera, BDO, Barang block informed the vested groups about information supplied to Sri Akul. The disgruntled politicians, corrupt officials and goons got united and hatched conspiracy to murder him.
On 26.3.16, a group of hooligans ( Niranjan Rout, Bideshi Rout, Sanjay Sahu, Ajay Sahu, Jogedra Dalai ) attacked Sri Akul in his house in night at around 10.45 PM. He was mercilessly beaten up and when he lost sense, they carried him out in auto rickshaw to bury in a jungle. Fortunately, the autorickshaw could not start and he shouted after gaining sense. A garage man along with other villagers came out to rescue him. During in-fighting on the village road, someone made a call to Inspector-in-Charge, Barang police station and a PCR van reached on the spot to rescue him. In the night he was carried to S.C.B. Medical, Cuttack for treatment. He had sustained multiple injury with serious chest pain and remained in hospital for treatment for 3 days. On 27.3.16, he filed FIR to Barang police station. Though four months passed, IIC, Barang police station had not taken any step to arrest the culprits.
When this news was highlighted in print media, members of India Against Corruption (IAC) led by Malay Kumar Tripathy met D.G. Police, Cuttack on 27.4.16 and submitted memorandum seeking urgent action against the culprits. On 5.5.16, Sita Sahu, mother of Akul filed a case to Odisha Human Rights Commission seeking justice for her child.
I was enlightened about this issue in the last week of May 2016. After my follow-up, complaint case has been registered in OHRC ( Case No. 1860/2016) and notice issued to Deputy Commissioner of Police, Cuttack to reply by 22.8.16.
Akul is very poor and presently vagabond. He could not return back to his village due to life risk. His mother is suffering a lot. His father has already got expired.