Guj RTI activists not bogged down by Jethwa`s murder

RTI activists of Gujarat today said they were not bogged down by the murder of Amit Jethwa, an RTI activist who had exposed illegal mining in Gir forest area.

Last Updated: Jul 21, 2010, 21:42 PM IST

Ahmedabad: RTI activists of Gujarat today
said they were not bogged down by the murder of Amit Jethwa,
an RTI activist who had exposed illegal mining in Gir forest
area.

Jethwa was shot dead yesterday night by two unidentified
assailants in front of Gujarat High court.

"This is not the first incident where a whistle blower
or RTI activist was murdered in the country," Harinesh
Pandya of NGO Janpath, spearheading RTI activities in the
state, told reporters here.

"We have decided that we would not be bogged down by
such an incident and work taken up by Jethwa will continue so
that those who are of the belief that his crusade against
illegal mining will end with him are wrong," Pandya said.

Another RTI activist Pankti Jog said they have started a
helpline for RTI in Gujarat and in the last one month the
helpline has received eight calls which reported that
information seekers were beaten up and abused.

"We had never thought somebody will go to the extant
of killing people. This is absolutely shocking," she further
said.

"Attacks on the RTI activists have taken place all over
the country. Now, we have to think about our protection,"
Nita Khandekar another RTI activist said.

In the recent months, RTI activists Satish Shetty and
Datta Patil, who exposed many land scams and corruption
amongst several politicians and bureaucrats in Maharashtra
respectively, were killed.

Meanwhile, Congress leader of Opposition Shaktisinh
Gohil said Jethwa had taken on people connected with ruling
party involved in illegal mining in Junagadh.

"Jethwa`s father has accused BJP MP of being involved
in the murder, which should be probed. This shows vested
interest will stop at nothing in Gujarat and reflects as to
what happens to people seeking justice in Gujarat," Gohil
further said.

"Vibrant Gujarat under (Gujarat Chief Minister) Modi
is in reality vitiated Gujarat", Gohil said.

Jethwa, who had recently filed a public interest
litigation (PIL) against illegal mining in Gir forest region
in the High Court, was shot dead from close range by two
unknown motorcycle-borne assailants last night when he was
coming out from the office of his lawyer opposite the Gujarat
High Court.

Jethwa`s father has accused BJP MP from Jundagadh Dinu
Solanki of being involved in his son`s killing.

"I believe that Dinu Solanki is behind the killing of
my son. He had many times threatened Amit on phone," Bhikabhai
Jethwa said here.

The BJP spokesperson Vijay Rupani said, "These are
allegations and party will act if this allegations are proved
true. Police is conducting inquiry in the case".

PTI