Gujarat RTI activists decide to form union

Expressing concern over their safety and Gujarat government`s `pathetic` approach in the implementation of the Right to Information (RTI) act.

Last Updated: Jul 24, 2011, 16:10 PM IST

Ahmedabad: Expressing concern over their
safety and Gujarat government`s `pathetic` approach in
the implementation of the Right to Information (RTI) act, the
activists from across the state on Sunday decided to form a union.

The RTI activists alleged implementation of the Act in
Gujarat has been `pathetic` with over 52 per cent applications
being rejected by the Chief Information Commissioner of the
state.

An RTI activist heading an NGO, Citizen Resources and
Actions Initiatives (CRANTI), Bharatsinh Zala, claimed, "RTI
activists in Gujarat are being attacked, killed for exposing
the illegal activities in the state which are being run with
connivance of politicians."

"RTI activists are not safe in Gujarat and there is
no protection from the state government so we have decided to
form a union of activist," Zala told media persons at a press
conference here.

Social activist and danseuse Mallika Sarabhai alleged
that state government was trying to suppress the activists.

"Our freedom is being curbed and voice of RTI activist
was being suppressed by the government. The change from Bombay
Charitable Trust Act to Gujarat Charitable Trust Act is
example of the autocratic approach of the state government.

Our right for information is also being violated," Sarabhai
said.

"This is an emergency like situation in the state of
Gujarat. We activists need to come together and fight those
trying to suppress the implementation of RTI Act in Gujarat,"
she added.

Bhikhu Jethva, whose son and RTI activist Amit Jethva
was killed by gunmen one year ago for exposing illegal mining
in Gir forest region, said he would fight till the end for the
cause in which his son believed in.

"I have faith in the High Court where the PIL filed by
Amit (Jethva) is being heard. They will do justice to it. But
if I feel that they have not done enough, I will approach the
Supreme Court," Bhikhu said.

Another RTI activist, Bhagubhai Devani from Porbander
said he too was attacked by land mafia after he complained
against illegal mining in the Saurashtra region which he said
was being promoted by a former minister.

Bharat Tann from Rajkot narrated the same citing
alleged land scam to the tune of Rs 800 crore in the heart of
the city.

The group of activist also demanded that the state and
the Central government should pass bill for providing
protection to RTI applicants.

PTI