INFO COMMISSION LOOKS TO PROTECT RTI ACTIVISTS
The state Information Commission has ordered an inquiry to ascertain if the murder of Mangaluru-based RTI activist Vinayak Baliga was indeed caused by his activism. The commission says it wants to raise the issue of safety of Right to Inform-ation (RTI) activists, and the report that it seeks from the Director General and Inspector General of Police will set the ground for it.
Repeated complaints of threats and attacks on RTI activists is said to have forced the commission to step in. “We have taken up the issue of safety of those using the RTI tool. Vinayak Baliga’s death in Mangaluru is shocking. We have asked for a report. If his RTI activism is the cause, then it’s a serious issue,” said L Krishna Murthy, state chief information commissioner (in-charge).
Two bike-borne assailants attacked 52-year-old Baliga with lethal weapons on March 21 while he was on his way to a temple. He was said to have been actively pursuing several cases of funds misuse and irregularities in various government departments in Mangaluru.
Assault on an RTI activist is not new. In January, Shamanna, 60, was brutally attacked. He had unearthed crucial information using the RTI tool in several cases.
Another RTI activist, Lingaraju, was murdered in broad daylight in Chamarajpet on November 20, 2012. Former corporator Gowramma and her husband C Govindaraju were facing trial in the case.
While threats to withdraw RTI applications have been common, some assaults never come to light, said an information commission source. Based on the report, recommendations will be sent to the government, Krishna Murthy said.