Another RTI activist dies in an “accident”
The death of Mr. Ravinder Balwani following an alleged hit-and-run incident in New Delhi has triggered allegations of foul play. After his retirement in 2010 as a Manager of the Delhi Transco Limited, Mr. Balwani had been filing RTI applications and had leveled graft charges against many officials and politicians. In 2009, he had complained to Indraprastha police about receiving threat calls. His family has claimed that he had been receiving numerous threat calls.
The death of Mr. Balwani has renewed the focus on the increasing vulnerability of RTI activists. As per a Human Rights report, twelve RTI activists have been killed in separate incidents between January 2010 and August 2011, while more than 20 others have been attacked in different parts of the country. While the investigation of the cause of death may be unraveled during the investigation, the series of attacks raise the question of security environment of the country. The safety of the activists merits immediate attention and appropriate action.