Dalit RTI petitioner faces BSP politico's wrath

Published: Monday, Aug 16, 2010, 13:42 IST
Place: Sitapur | Agency: PTI

Uttar Pradesh may be ruled by a Dalit chief minister but poor Dalits
in the state's rural areas continue to suffer under the oppression of
upper caste politicians. One such case is that of a 50-year old dalit
Budhai Ram of Sidhauli village in Sitapur district, 80 kilometres from Lucknow.

Budhai Ram apparently made the mistake of filing a Right to
Information petition at the office of the Sitapur district magistrate
seeking details of sub-standard building material in the construction
of government buildings in his village by contractors.

He received no reply to his petition. What he did receive, he alleges,
were threats from the chairman of the Sidhauli nagar panchayat, an
upper-caste politician considered close to a top-leader of the ruling
BSP. He says he was asked to stop his enquiries and keep his mouth

The leader's henchmenoffered him a "settlement" but when he approached
the state Lok Ayukta with a complaint of corruption, they attacked him
and his wife.

"On May 15 this year, body of my five-year old daughter was found in
the pool of my village. I was threatened that I will also meet the
fate of my daughter but Police did not provide any protection to us.
On August 8, about 15 armed goons beat me and my wife mercilessly at
my home. I escaped and called the police station, the circle officer
and the ASP but to no avail," Budhai told PTI.

When contacted, Sitapur superintendent of police, Jyoti Narayan termed
it a dispute between neighbours and denied that there had been any
attack on the family of Budhai.

"We have investigated his case at least thrice. On all these occasions
the complaints were found to be without any basis," he said. Narayan
said a new officer has been asked to re-investigate.

RTI activists have been the target of violence in several cases and
nine of them have been killed in different parts of the country this
year forcing the Centre to consider offering protection to them under
the whistleblowers category.

Reply via email to