Bhubaneswar, 22.1.15 A team of Human Rights Defenders Sri Pradip Pradhan, state Convener, Odisha Soohana Adhikar Abhijan, Sri Pradipta Nayak, Member, HRD Alert, Sri Chandranath Dani and Sri Akhand, Huma Rights Activists met Chief Secretary, Odisha and submitted memorandum urging him e urging him to take steps for opening a special desk in the office of DG, Police to independently investigate into allegation of murder or attack on RTI Activists and provide them protection along with amending Odisha RTI Rules, 2005.
It needs to be mentioned here that on 29.12.14, Sri Ganesh Chandra Panda, RTI Activist of Berhampur, district headquarters of Ganjam district was severely attacked by some miscreants from backside and died on the spot, while he was on his morning walk, a few meters away from his house. To ascertain the facts and circumstances led to murder of Sri Panda, a fact-finding team had visited to Berhampur and conducted the spot inquiry into the murder and found that use of RTI to expose corruption was the reason behind the murder of Sri Ganesh handra Panda. The Team met Inspector I-Charge, Golanthara Police Station, Addl. SP and urged upon them to arrest the culprits behind the arrest. But the team came across a lot of issues involved in respect of murder of RTI Activist and attack on RTI users in the state.
Today, the delegation met the Chief Secretary and requested him for high-level inquiry into the circumstances leading to murder of RTI Activist Sri Ganesh Chandra Panda, open a Desk in the office of Director General of Police especially for RTI and Human Rights Activists to receive the complaints of attacks and threats against them and to take prompt action against the accused.
The Chief Secretary was also appraised about Anti-people provision of Odisha RTI Rules 2005 urged him for withdrawal of compulsory provision for submission of proof of citizenship at the time of filing RTI Applications and also for abolishing the compulsory provision for using the Form-A that requires inter alia disclosure of several personal details like permanent address and name of
father/spouse and provide adequate financial support for survival of the family members of Gaesh Ch. Panda, who attained martyrdom in course of his crusade against corruption through the use of RTI.