बुधवार, 17 मई 2017

Recent Trend of Attack on RTI Activists in Odisha

Note on Recent Trend of Attack on RTI Activists in Odisha and failure of police to arrest the culprits

Human Rights Activists and RTI Activists are seen quite vulnerable in Odisha. The trend of brutal attack on RTI Activists, Human Rights Activists and their family members is rising day by day. RTI Activists are always seen at loggerheads with the State administration; corrupt Govt. officials, land mafia, contractors while exposing about corruption, irregularities in Govt. programme, maladministration, favouritism and manipulation in Govt. appointment, malpractice in procurement etc.  Irregularities and illegalities in allotment of land /plot to politicians, bureaucrats, private educational institutions like KIIT, Jagatguru Krupalu  Yoga Trust, Sri Sri Rabi Shankar University,  Ma Ambruta Mayee Devi Trust  by General Administration Department, BDA, CDA, Odisha State Housing Board, IDCO, Illegalities in allotment of mining operation to the companies, pendency of  crores of rupees of water tax and electricity tax against  companies, illegal closure of SIET and OKCL ghotala, illegal occupation of Govt. quarters by former MLAs and Ministers and ex-Govt. employees for years together, black-marketing and adulteration of food items allotted under ICDS, MDM, NREGA Scam, irregularities and corruption in distribution of PDS items   and many other scam has been exposed  by RTI Activists  in the state within period of ten years.  This expose has not only put the Govt. in trouble but has brought to limelight the true character of so-called eminent people of society and their crime. Armed with information obtained through RTI,   Human Rights Activists have taken up various issues by approaching High Courts, Human Rights Commissions, Central Vigilance Commission, CBI and Tribunals like National Green Tribunal seeking justice.  The recent order of National Green Tribunal to Govt. of Odisha to get returned back of 18 acres of forest land illegally acquired by KIIT is one of the best success stories of intervention of Human Rights Activists.

The continuous and constant endeavour of Human Rights Activists and RTI Activists to fight out corruption and maladministration has endangered their life in face of systematic and organised attack of coterie of powerful politicians, bureaucrats and mafias. Within last ten years, Odisha has witnessed brutal attack on 50 Activists and murder of two RTI Activists and many more beaten up severely, harassed, tortured which has gone unnoticed.  In the absence of effective legal mechanism to take prompt action against the culprits and criminal, the RTI Activists and their families remained quite vulnerable in the state. The policy investigations into any allegation of violation of Human Rights Activists are seen far from satisfaction. 

Few recent case studies about Attack on RTI Activists and helplessness of police to arrest the culprit is as follows.

1.       On 24.4.17,    Sri Subas Mohapara, RTI Activist  who was  returning  to his home in the evening  was   stopped  by a gang of byke-borne miscreants  at Khandagiri square and  threatened to be murdered AT GUNPOINT, if he pursues  case  against Achyut Samant of KIIT, Patia, Bhubaneswar.  He filed  the FIR  same day  in Khandagiri  police station accusing  Achyut Samant  behind this threats .  No investigation against Achyut Samant  is yet done  by the police.

2.       On 3.5.17 at around 8.45 pm, a miscreant threw petrol on sister of Pradip Pradhan, State Convener of Odisha Soochana Adhikar Abhijan in front of his residence, Maitree Vihar, Bhubaneswar and ran away. Immediately, Sri Pradhan lodged complaint in Maitree Vihar Police post which is 50 meters away from his residence coming under jurisdiction of Chadrasekhar Pur police station.   The police received the complaint, registered the case as PS Case No.161 dt. 3.5.2017 U/s 448/326/506 IPC and started investigation on same day. Though twelve days passed, the Police has not yet been able to arrest the culprit. However, the police has provided  police protection  to  FAMILY of Pradip Pradhan.

3.       Mr. Sankar Panigrahi, permanent resident of Radharani Pada At-Hospital road, near mausi mandir,Po/Dist-Balangir is engaged in motivating youth in his district to undertake developmental work and also encourages and teaches them to use Right to Information Act to seek information regarding the ongoing developmental work.He is an active member of an unregistered RTI network, namely Odisha Soochana Adikar Abhiyan (OSAA) involved in exposing cases of corruption in government funds earmarked for the implementation of social welfare schemes in Odisha.   Mr. Sankar Panigrahi, had posted in social media (facebook) on date May 9, 2017, “GO BACK NARYAN NAIK”. On May 10, 2017, at about 8.02 PM he received a call from a mobile number +91-7682955014. Without saying anything, the caller started abusing him in filthy language and threatened to kill him in an encounter and rape his wife. Mr. Panigrahi had recorded this conversation. On 12.5.17, Sankar  filed  FIR  in   Bolangir  police station  seeking  investigation into the matter.  The Bolagir Sadar police station   registered FIR no. 0155(IPC-506,507) dt. 15.5.17 and the investigation is going on.    

4.       12.5.17, Sri Keshab Mahakud, physically challenged  and RTI Activist of Nayagarh district  had  come to  Bhubaneswar  to file  complaint  to  Sri Bijayshree Routray, Minister  for Forest and Environment, Govt. of Odisha  about huge corruption  in  Forest Dept. under DFO, Nayagarh.  He met  Minister  in his residence in the evening  and appraised him about  corruption.  While he was on his way to Baramunda by autorickshaw, he was intercepted by  a gang of hooligans at Vanivihar square.  He  was mercilessly beaten up by them. Then  he  went to Saheed Nagar police station  at around 9 pm  and lodged complaint.  The  concerned police asked him to come to police station in the next day.        On 13.5.17, the police  registered  his case  and started investigation.  Nothing has happened till yet.  He had filed RTI to office of DFO, Nayagarh to expose corruption worth crore of rupees by forest officials in collusion with local BJD leaders.  He was threatened to be murdered  by DFO, Nayagarh few days back.  The case has been filed in National Human Rights Commission with case no. 2552/18/28/2017. It deserves to be mentioned here that last year, Sri Mahakud, a Disable person was seriously beaten up and hospitalised for a month in S.C.B.Medical, Cuttack for treatment.

5.       On 16.6.16,  at 11.45 am, Sri Priyabrata Gadnaik, RTI Activist was attacked a gang of 6 hooligans  on  Kaunriapala  river bridge of National Highway 55 of Dhenkanal district . he was forced to jump to river bed and his leg and hand got featured. He was rescued by Ambulance.  Though FIR was lodged in Dhenkanal Sadar police station registered  case no. 251/2016, the police has not yet been able to arrest the culprits. Rather the police helped them to get bail.   On day of attack, Sri Priyabrata was returning  from  Odapada Tahasil  after attending hearing of his first appeal petition filed  before Tahasildar  on denial of information about the PIO. The information sought for was  about details of  stone query leased out to the contractors, revenue collected , illegal stone query operated and action taken. Sri Priyabrata is still fighting for justice.

Note prepared by
Srikant Pakal
M-  9338455092


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