Team Anna protests for stronger whistleblowers law

Dubbing the present whistleblowers protection law as a "farce", activists led by Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal, staged a protest.

New Delhi: Dubbing the present whistleblowers protection law as a "farce", activists led by Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal on Monday staged a protest here for a stronger legislation in this regard and justice for an RTI activist who died under mysterious circumstances.

Kejriwal, along with other Team Anna members, including former Union minister Shanti Bhushan, led over a 100 protesters to seek justice for RTI activist Ravinder Balwani, who suffered fatal injuries in a "hit-and-run" incident in the capital last month.

"Time and again we hear cases of RTI activists being attacked. It is saddening. How many more murders will have to happen for the government to come to a realisation that the present Whistleblowers law is a farce and that we need a stronger legislation?" Kejriwal asked.
"The current Act, instead of protecting whistleblowers, is in fact making them easier targets," he added.

Balwani, who retired from Delhi Transco in 2010 as a manager, was an aide of Kejriwal and a member of his NGO Parivartan. His family had alleged that he was murdered though police maintain that he died in a hit and run accident.

Remembering Balwani as a "passionate" RTI activist, Kejriwal said, "there were enough and more reasons for the administration to do away with him".

"He (Balwani) went no end to expose the corruption in his department. An independent probe must be conducted to find if Balwani was killed or it actually was an accident case. The police can`t easily brush it aside as an accident," Kejriwal said.

The activists also demanded an independent probe into the death of Balwani to ascertain whether it is a murder or an accident. "We feel the investigations have been compromised," Kejriwal alleged.
Pitching for an independent agency to oversee the protection of whistlebolowers, Kejriwal said provisions must be made in the Lokpal Bill to shield RTI activists.

A candlelight vigil was also observed by the protesters seeking an independent probe into Balwana`s "mysterious" death.


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