Assam: RTI applicant alleges assault

Sanjib Tanti has said that a group of people attacked him after he extracted documents exposing corruption in several rural schemes

GUWAHATI, June 21: Three weeks after a senior officer of the Assam Civil Service was arrested on corruption charges in Golaghat district through an application filed under the Right to Information Act, a student leader in Udalguri district has complained he was threatened and assaulted for asking questions regarding various rural development schemes.

Sanjib Tanti, president of the All Tea Tribes Students’ Association of the Bodoland Territorial Council area, filed an FIR at the Paneri police station yesterday alleged that a group of people led by the president of the local panchayat attacked him on June 11 after he extracted some vital documents exposing corruption in several rural schemes.

AK Rawat, an official at the police station, told The Indian Express over the telephone that “We have registered a case on the basis of the FIR filed by Tanti.”

Tanti said he had detected serious anomalies in several rural development schemes including allocation of houses for BPL people under the Indira Awas Yojana. “It was a difficult task getting information because officials from the block development officer to the deputy commissioner initially refused to accept my application filed under the RTI Act,” said Tanti, who was general secretary of the Darrang College Students’ Union in Tezpur during 2002-2003.

“One senior officer even tried to persuade me not to file the application. They seemed to be scared because I asked about schemes including the Yojana and the MLA and MP local area development funds since 2000,” said Tanti. He said the information he had extracted showed that over 60 per cent of the Yojana houses were never constructed.

This is the second instance of RTI applicants seeking information about use of development funds have been attacked and threatened in Udalguri district in the recent weeks. Two applicants Niren Pareek and Christopher Minz had to be hospitalised last month after some miscreants beat them up as they were coming out of the Udalguri BDO’s office after filing an RTI application.
Elsewhere in the state, ‘miscreants’ also beat up Akhil Gogoi, general secretary of the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti, after he filed an application under the RTI Act seeking information about various rural development schemes in Golaghat district.

IndianExpress.com :: Assam: RTI applicant alleges assault