The powerful Right To Information Act (RTI) is a double edged sword. It protects the democracy but at the same time makes the Human Right Defenders vulnerable. The Indian RTI act is functional from 2005, and according to estimates of The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), between 5.3-5.6 million RTI’s are submitted every year. It is a fundamental right to demand and receive information from Public Authorities.
The people or companies that gets profit from corruption are the ones to harm the RTI activists and hiding facts. They are afraid of accountability and transparency. Since the time RTI is launched in India, hundreds of activists are attacked, tortured, victimised and in some cases, they get killed, to prevent the expose of the withheld information.
One lacunae of this Act is the vulnerability of the RTI applicant. The Central Information Commission and the State Information Commissions are not mandated to deal with threats or attacks or to provide protection when needed to the applicants. But despite that the RTI applicants are not discouraged. Such is the power of truth.
In this video from Puri, Odisha, the RTI activist is badly assaulted and he alleges that the Police is protecting the culprits because of the political ideology and patronage of the ruling party of Odisha. There is a history of homicides of RTI activists in Odisha. Hope your action of sharing this video will make people aware of the plight of the RTI activists across India.
In this video of UPS Manwan Awoora school, Kupwara, Kashmir, the community correspondent Pir Azhar shows us that there are nine classes for 250 students, and due to lack of space, the lower primary classes are held outside in the open. Also the school has only 7 teachers.