RTI activist attacked in Rajasthan

A 65-year-old RTI activist who was working to expose irregularities in the rural jobs scheme MGNREGA was attacked by miscreants.

Jaipur: A 65-year-old Right to Information (RTI) activist who was working to expose irregularities in the rural jobs scheme MGNREGA in Rajasthan is battling for life at a hospital here after being attacked by miscreants.
Dudhram is a former headman or sarpanch of Somalsar village near Nokha city of Bikaner district.

"He was brutally beaten up by some miscreants Feb 2 as he was trying to expose corruption in the MGNREGA work in his area," Chetan Ram, an NGO activist in Bikaner, told a news agency.

He has nine fractures and his kidney was affected in the attack, said Ram.

Dudhram`s family as well as the NGO alleges he was beaten up by supporters of the current sarpanch. He was admitted in a critical condition at the private S.K. Soni Hospital here.

"He is in ICU and showing signs of improvement, but he will take time to recover fully," said a doctor at the hospital where he has been admitted.

The incident flared up after Dudhram lodged a complaint with the state government`s Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) saying six roads were constructed at a cost of Rs 12 crore in 2010 in Nokha. He said in spite of this work not being completed in 2011, work was sanctioned again under MGNREGA for clearing sand from the roads. He alleged that actually no such work was carried out, but around Rs 4 crore was paid for it.

The government engineer and people of the area also wrote to the collector that no work had been done after which a team from Jaipur came for inspection. The issue flared up and Dudhram was beaten up brutally, said Chetan Ram.

"An FIR was filed against 10 accused, but as per our knowledge no arrests have been made so far in the case," said Chetan Ram.

MGNREGA or the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act is a flagship scheme of the central government guaranteeing 100 days of work every year to one member of every rural household.