* Ajay Ambalia had sought info under RTI Act on illegal apartments
In one more incident of attack on an RTI applicant, a resident of Jetpur town in Rajkot district was allegedly attacked by Jetpur Nagarpalika president and a woman councillor’s husband for seeking details on alleged illegal apartments that have recently come up in Jetpur.
The assailants have been identified as Suresh Sakhrelia and Rakesh Gol, husband of councillor Kanchan.
Ajay Ambalia (40), who is being treated at a government hospital in Jetpur, lodged a police complaint on Thursday that he was clubbed at Jetpur Nagapalika office the previous day. The police have registered a complaint of assault.
According to Ambalia, he had gone to the Nagarpalika office as he wasn’t provided with complete information about construction of 40 high-rises that he had sought through RTI application. When he insisted that the president give him the complete information, he was allegedly clubbed by the two accused.
Ambalia has been alleging that town-planning rules were flouted in the construction of these buildings. Many of these were given permission up to eight floors, above the existing ceiling of four or five floors in the area.
Police said they have begin probe on Ambalia’s complaint.
This is the second incident in a month in the region in which an RTI activist has been attacked.
On August 20, Jaisukh Bambania, an auto-rickshaw driver was attacked allegedly by Diu (Union Territory) Nagarpalika Vice-President, the local mamlatdar, RTO officer and three others.
Bamaniya had sought information about a hotel constructed by the Nagarpalika vice-president in which coastal regulatory zone laws were allegedly violated.
In June, Bhagu Devani, a Porbandar-based lawyer, was stabbed allegedly by a local BJP leader and former minister Babu Bokhiria for seeking information related to a three-star hotel that is coming up at Porbandar beach.
Last year, environment activist Amit Jethava was shot dead outside the High Court in Ahmedabad allegedly for exposing illegal mining through RTI queries in Gir Wildlife Sanctuary and surrounding area.
Pratap Solanki, nephew of BJP Junagadh MP Dinu Solanki, is the main accused in the case.
Re: Another RTI activist assaulted, now by Jetpur Nagarpalika chief
Implementation of the transparency law seems to be in a real bad shape in Gujarat. To hide the lack of transparency, Section 25 of the Act is not being implemented ever since the Act came into existence int the state. To create pressure to make things more conducive for information seekers, all RTI Activists need to add an extra question in their RTI Applications, seeking details of implementation of Section 25 in the concerned department.