Odisha RTI activist murder: Panicky family members flee village

Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Cuttack, Feb 3:

The grief-stricken family members of slain RTI activist, Krupasindhu Sahu, on Monday left the village fearing for their lives as they have been allegedly threatened by the perpetrators of the crime.

Krupasindhu Sahu
Krupasindhu Sahu

‘‘Fearing backlash, Laxmipriya, the widow of Krupasindhu,  along with her two sons—Bikash and Rakesh—have left the village as they have been getting threatening after her husband’s murder,’’ a villager said requesting anonymity.

As tense situation prevails in the village, security personnel have been deployed for security to Krupasindhu’s mother who is now the lone member residing at their home.

Krupasindhu (40), a farmer, of Nachhigan village of Krushnaprasad Panchayat under Niali police station in Odisha’s Cuttack district was murdered for seeking RTI information on utilisation of BGREI funds sanctioned for development of agriculture in the block.

Meanwhile, the involvement of ruling party members and supporters in the killing of Krupasindhu is gaining credence.

The widow of Krupasinghu alleged that some ruling party leaders and their supporters have been pressurising and trying to falsely implicate him in made up cases.

‘‘Police have registered a case (case no 197) against my husband on October 30 last based on a complaint four years ago. This has been done on the instructions and pressure from these ruling party leaders,’’ Laxmipriya alleged.

Notably, the case was registered following a complaint by a staff of Niali electricity department.

According to villagers, Krupasindhu was a worker of the ruling Biju Janata Dal. However, he hopped to Congress party owing to some differences. This did not go down well through the neck of the BJD leaders. He had to face the music for not maintaining his allegiance towards the BJD.

Meanwhile, police have arrested three accused–Saila, Manju and Dilip– in this connection and efforts are on to nab the prime accused Kartika Pani who has been absconding since the incident.

On the other hand, the Opposition Congress has launched an onslaught on the ruling BJD for its alleged complicity in the murder of Krupasindhu Sahu. The OPCC chief Prasad Harichandan on Monday threatened to gharao the Odisha Assembly on February 18 should the killers are not arrested before the said date.

“We demand stringent action against the killers for hatching conspiracy who had hired contract killers to eliminate Krupasindhu Sahu. Strict action should also be initiated against the government employees and the IIC of the police station,” Harichandan said.

Condemning the killing of RTI activist and increasing attack on information seekers, rights activists will be organizing a state-level protest meeting on Thursday to discuss various issues and chalk out strategy for protection of RTI activists in the state.

‘‘RTI activists who are now in the forefront of Human rights defenders (HRDs) have become most vulnerable to all manners of threats and attacks by vested interests in India. Unlike other HRDs, a majority of the RTI activists are still not a part of any collective forum or organisation; they often act alone, moved by anger at corruption and other illegal activities,’’ an activist said.

Citing some gruesome incidents, the activist said, on December 28 last year, Ganesh Chandra Panda of Rangeilunda Block of Ganjam district was murdered by vested groups, as he tried to unearth huge corruption in FDR and NREGA work through RTI.

One month later, another RTI activist Krupasindhu  Sahu  of Niali Block  of Cuttack district was killed by a hired killer as he tried to expose corruption and misappropriation of fund in BGREI fund.

This apart, attack on RTI activists is reported in every alternate day in media. On the other hand,   the police administration are seen hand in glove  with  vested groups and criminals  who are masterminding murder and derailed  the enquiry without giving any justice to the victims or the family of victims, the activist alleged.

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