Home department asks police to protect 'honest' RTI activists
The Home department of Maharashtra has directed the police to safeguard RTI activists provided they 'honest'. It remains to be seen how an abstract virtue such as honesty can be defined and how can the police identify who is honest and who is not. It also raises the question that if a person is dishonest, does safeguarding his life not a priority of the police?
There is a surge in violence against activists and Jha's case is only the latest in a long list of attacks on whistleblowers in Maharashtra. Satish Shetty in January 2010; Arun Sawant in February 2010; Vasant Gite was in April 2010; Datta Patil in May 2010 and Ramdas Ghadegavkar in August 2010 are some of the recent cases who have lost their lives. Scores of other activists have also been threatened or beaten up.
Misuse of the RTI Act by some ‘activists’ is not unknown. Sometimes, people misuse the act for blackmailing or for putting pressure on officers. In the aftermath of the murder of the RTI activist Premkant Jha, this circular has been issued by the Maharashtra Home department to safeguard honest RTI activists. Only time would tell how much it would succeed.