A Public meeting in protest against kidnap and murder of Sri Krupasindhu Sahu, RTI Activist will be held at Niali Boys’ High School on 10.2.15 at 4.30 PM. All the Activists, intellectuals, academicians are requested to join the programme and express solidarity to fight out corruption and irregularities in State Administration and ensuring justice to the bereaved family of the victims.
The decision for the public meeting was taken in he state Convention of RTI Activists and Human Rights Organizations held at Lohia Bhaawan on 5.2.15.
Following was the resolution adopted.
The National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI) expresses deep shock and anguish over the alleged murder of RTI activist Kripasindhu Sahu, around 26th January 2015, in Nachhinga village under Krushnaprasad Panchayat of Niali Block, Cuttack district, Odisha. Mr. Sahu’s alleged murder follows close on the heels of the alleged murder of another RTI activist Mr. Ganesh Chandra Panda, in Odisha on 28th December, 2014.
According to media reports and an independent fact-finding report subimitted by a four-member team of Human Rights Activists operating in Odisha (report annexed to this press release), Mr. Sahu had obtained information under the RTI Act that brought to the fore “huge corruption and irregularities in BGREI fund sanctioned for development of agriculture by influential and powerful political people”. This disclosure allegedly motivated affected persons, who belong to the ruling political party, to plan and execute Mr. Sahu’s alleged murder at the behest of contract killers. The fact-finding report buttresses this claim by stating that the SDPO of the concerned jurisdiction has opined that Mr. Sahu’s death was undoubtedly a pre-planned murder.
Though an FIR has been registered in Mr. Sahu’s alleged murder, the fact-finding report highlights disturbing trends of callous investigation and suggests that the independence of the investigating agency may have been compromised at the behest of powerful persons involved in Mr.Sahu’s alleged murder.
The death of Mr. Sahu under such suspicious circumstances adds to the long list of tragedies that highlight the clear and present danger to all RTI users face from vested interests that are allowed to operate with impunity. NCPRI demands that the Government of Odisha act swiftly to identify Mr. Sahu assailants and bring them to justice. Further, we demand swift and impartial investigation into the cause and motive behind his killing.
In the wake of reports of increased victimisation of whistleblowers like Mr. Sahu across India, it is important to reiterate that the primary duty of the State is to protect each one of its citizens, particularly those at greater risk because they are crusading for transparency and accountability. After immense public pressure, the Parliament passed the Whistleblower’s Protection Act (WBPA) in February 2014. The Act received Presidential assent on the 9th of May 2014 and was notified in the Gazette of India on the 12th. However, even after seven months the Act is yet to be operationalized as the Central Government has failed to frame Rules to supplement the Act. To prevent victimization of whistleblowers, the NCPRI urges the Central Government to operationalize the WBPA in its present form by framing appropriate Rules and Regulations without further delay.