Sunday, October 10, 2010

Blind RTI crusader in Gujarat gets death threats

The visually-challenged Ala was the first winner of Rahul Mangaonkar Award, instituted by The Times of India, Ahmedabad, for Best Use Of RTI For Common Cause.
Ala, 30, a resident of Rangpar village in Wankaner taluka of Rajkot district, has been using RTI as a tool to play watchdog in works done in his gram panchayat. In many cases, his RTI pleas stirred panchayat officials into action. In 2008, Ala, a fighter, had got a 2 km road built in his village with the help of RTI, which earned him the award. He has told the police that he received an anonymous call on his cellphone on September 29 when he was in a hospital at Chotila with his ailing wife, who is also visually challenged. He immediately lodged an FIR at Chotila police station. "I was threatened as I sought information about road planning to file an RTI plea seeking information about the gauchar land in our village and its status. Panchayat members were not happy with me. The anonymous caller said I would be killed if I asked too many
questions through RTI. I have named sarpanch Ratabhai Gogiya as a suspect in the FIR and also given the police the unidentified number," Ala said,

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