RTI activists targeted in Odisha

BHUBANESWAR:  Bapi Jena, 30, of Hantuka village of Puri district had faced resentment of some people of his locality when he tried to get information from Hantuka Service Cooperative Society through right to information (RTI) act regarding beneficiaries of farm loans.

He suspected that an official of the cooperative society was not happy with him and his friend Susant Jena for enquiring about farm loans. “The officer had implanted two people to attack them. They attacked me with a sharp weapon on May 27. Even police didn’t register my complaint,” he added.

Another RTI campaigner BansidharNayak, 44, of Dhajhola village under Odagaon police limits in Nayagarh district was attacked by some petty contractors of his area as he complained against their proscribed works. They were using excavator and tractors like machines rather than engaging job card holders, he added.

“The anti-socials attacked me, my elder brother, his wife and other family members on May 8 night. They had even chased them till they reach hospital. Police registered case against the accused and arrested four people. But they are out on bail in no time and again threatening me,” said the campaigner.

Similarly, AniruddhSethy of Rajnagar in Kendrapada district and 11 others recounted their afflictions to a panel of experts at a public hearing organised here on Sunday. They said the local leaders of political parties and government officials target them if they expose their misconducts.

Odisha SoochanaAdhikarAbhiyan state convener Pradip Pradhan said 14 campaigners have been attacked in the last two months. The case is escalating in the state.

Shailesh Gandhi, former Central Information Commissioner, said the police should register the complaints filed by the campaigners. “Because they expose the corrupt officials, henchmen and local leaders, they are being targeted every time. Police don’t even register complaints in several cases,” he alleged.

-By OdishaAge