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Gujarat RTI activists unite against atrocities

Jul 25, 2011 09:04 AM IST India India
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Ahmedabad: RTI activists from across the state of Gujarat gathered in Ahmedabad to share stories of their struggle against the government. Over the past few months several activists have been threatened, beaten and even killed in the state.

There has been still no justice for the family of Amit Jethwa who was gunned down over a year ago. The RTI activist was attempting to expose illegal mining around the Gir Sanctuary. His father Bhikhubhai Jethwa and other RTI activists gathered in Ahmedabad on Sunday to strengthen their resolve to expose corruption. Amit's father has named BJP strongman Dinu Solanki as accused, but Solanki has not even been questioned yet.

"One day, I'll put Dinu Bogha Solanki and his masters in Gandhinagar behind bars," said Bhikhubhai Jethwa.

But Jethwa's case is not an isolated one. Whistleblower Bhagubhai Dewani was attacked in June, 2011 for seeking information on illegal construction and mining in Porbander, especially by former BJP minister Babu Bokhiria.

Bhagubhai Dewani said, "I have already gone to the High Court and will go to the Supreme Court too. I'm not scared of death. Let it come today itself. But I'll keep fighting till I win."

Social activists have accused the government of failing the whistleblowers by shielding those who attack them. The activists said that instead of ensuring safety of those attempting to expose corruption, the government is sheltering those who are responsible for attacking RTI activists.

Social Activist Mallika Sarabhai said, "The space to ask questions to the government is shrinking. People who ask questions are attacked, raped, beaten and killed. Getting information from government is difficult."

But these fearless men and women say they will fight on even though the campaigns they choose to fight put their lives at risk. RTI activists are now planning to form an organisation, which they can use as a platform to fight corruption together.

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