Washington: Volunteers and Friends of Aam Aadmi Party in the United States, Singapore and Australia organised protests during the weekend against the planned amendment to the Right to Information (RTI) Act in the upcoming parliament session.
The protests were planned to show the strong public demand for transparency in political parties as well as the anger against the any amendments to the act by vested interests.
Protesters gathered in front of the Indian Embassy in Washington DC and raised slogans such as “Hands off our Right to Information” and “Why are you afraid of RTI?” against the union cabinet’s approval for an amendment to the RTI act last Thursday.
They expressed outrage over how many of the leading national parties, including the Congress and BJP, are united to scuttle this cornerstone order given by the Chief Information Commissioner to bring transparency in the functioning of political parties.
The main demands of the group to all parties was to not make any amendments to the RTI act and respect the order by immediately appointing public information officers in their party.
“Political parties play a very important and intrinsic role in our democracy and by all measures are public authorities. We fully support and appreciate the CIC’s order and will fight until political parties implement the order” said Madhusudan Narasiah from Boston and Akshay Anugu from Florida who were in town as part of ‘Swaraj Yatra’, a 210 mile walk from DC to NYC, organized to promote decentralization of power and transparency in governance.
Somu Kumar, a volunteer of AAP and resident of DC said: “Law Minister Kapil Sibal on Friday mentioned that if this order is implemented, it will strike at the root of the political system. Indeed, it will strike the root but of the existing ‘corrupt’ political system and hence we are demanding its implementation.
He also said that all parties are unanimously opposed to the CIC order, which is incorrect as Aam Aadmi Party has come out strongly in favour of the political parties implementing RTI. The party is leading by example by implementing the act even before the order was passed”.
Namita Pandey, organizer of this protest and a state convention in Melbourne said: “We need more transparency in political transactions and not less. Hope government would listen to voice of people and act as representatives of people and not as custodians of their party high command.”
She added that protesters have pledged to continue creating awareness among the NRI communities and gather support to fend off the current and any future amendments to this act.
"In current scenario many political parties made our democracy ``Government of the Neta, by the Neta, for the Neta``.
``Government of the People, by the People, for the People``, all political parties must come under RTI and accountable to all people" said Rajiv Ratn Shah, one of the organizers of the meeting in Singapore to show support to CIC decision and garner more support for the petition against the amendment.