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Thread: Amit Jethwa: RTI Activist shot dead in Gujarat

  1. #21
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    Re: Amit Jethwa: RTI Activist shot dead in Gujarat


    As reported by Soumitra Trivedi in livemint.com on 11 August 2010:
    Murdered RTI activist

    Murdered RTI activist’s legacy to be kept alive

    For Bhikhubhai Jethwa, father of slain Right to Information (RTI) activist and environmentalist Amit Jethwa, the government’s move to provide protection to whistle-blowers has come too late.

    “I have already lost my son who was so passionate about RTI,” he says.

    Bhikhubhai was referring to the draft Public Interest Disclosure and Protection to Persons Making the Disclosure Bill, 2010, that was cleared by the cabinet on Monday.

    “The government should have thought about protecting whistle-blowers in 2005 itself when the Right to Information Act was brought in. If such a provision was there, many whistle-blowers wouldn’t have lost their lives,” Bhikhubhai says.

    The proposed Bill empowers the Central Vigilance Commission to penalize people revealing the identity of whistle-blowers.

    Amit Jethwa was shot dead on 20 July near the Gujarat high court in Ahmedabad by two unidentified men. “Political forces are behind his murder,” alleges Bhikhubhai.

    In June, Jethwa had filed a public interest litigation (PIL), one of several by him, in the Gujarat high court alleging that illegal mining activities were being carried out in Una and Kodinar talukas in Junagadh district of Saurashtra region in Gujarat.

    The south-western coastal district of Junagadh is home to Asiatic lions and blackbucks, protected species under the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, an international wildlife conservation body.

    Jethwa’s PIL alleged that Dinubhai Boghabhai Solanki, member of Parliament from Junagadh constituency, and his relatives carried out illegal mining on the outskirts of Gir National Park, the 258.71 sq. km core forest area falling in Junagadh and Amreli districts.

    Investigations are still being carried out by the police into Jethwa’s murder.

    “We have got a few clues in the case indicating that the killing was ordered by people based in the Saurashtra region. We also have some information on one of the attackers. However, we suspect he may have fled the state,” a police official involved in the investigation of Jethwa’s murder said on condition of anonymity.

    “They may have killed Amit but they don’t know that Amit has left an army of RTI activists behind him,” his father says. “He has taught the RTI Act to over 4,000 people, out of which 1,500 people are dedicatedly using RTI as a powerful tool to ensure citizens get their rights.”

    Jaykant Patadiya, a soft-spoken Amreli-based diamond worker and an RTI colleague of Jethwa, says in Gujarati: “They may have country-made revolvers and political power, but we are armed with 20-rupee notes and a 45-page right to information rule book, which are no less than explosives.” Patadiya, a 37-year-old high school dropout, helps people write RTI applications for problems ranging from the issuing of ration cards to the illegal cutting of trees in the forest area, just like his mentor Jethwa once did.

    “I polish diamonds starting from 8 in the morning to 6 in the evening and earn Rs4,000 a month,” he says, adding: “During my one-and-a-half-hour lunch break, I teach the RTI Act to 50 of my co-workers. I will teach them just like Amitbhai taught me. When they (his co-workers) finish learning how to use this weapon then they will go on teaching others, which will be a true tribute to Amitbhai.”

    Patadiya says he was desolated by the murder of his mentor who had taught him how to use the RTI Act to get government departments to do their jobs.

    “He loved nature and was ready to do anything to protect animals and environment. Amit and I were the founding members of Gir Nature Youth Club (founded in 2000), which has now over 1,100 members and volunteers. Most of these volunteers and members have told us they will not let this movement die,” says Bhagabhai Dhukan, a 44-year-old, Khambha-based goldsmith.

    Located 60km from Amreli on the outskirts of the Gir Forest, Khambha was where Jethwa hailed from, having started his professional career as a junior pharmacist in the government health clinic there in 1996, after completing his education. His legacy is a durable one, say associates.

    “After Jethwa’s death, we have got calls from many of our members who want to start branches of Mahiti Adhikar Nagarik Mandal (MANM, a voluntary body founded by Jethwa in 2006 to spread awareness on RTI),” says Purshottam Ambaliya, co-convener of MANM, which has 400 members. “Our routine of Sunday meetings at the Khambha office was disturbed only once after Amitbhai was murdered. The routine work has now resumed and it won’t stop.”

    MANM officials, along with 10-15 volunteers, meet every Sunday to hear complaints of villagers and help them prepare applications under the RTI Act.

    On an average, around 60-70 RTI applications are written every Sunday.

    Patadiya is inspired enough to strike out on his own.

    “I have decided to start Mahiti Adhikar Nagarik Mandal-Amreli. I don’t have money to rent an office, but I have a spare room at home which will serve as an office,” says Patadiya. “My co-workers at the diamond unit whom I have taught how to go about writing RTI applications have promised to help me in this.”

    Jethwa’s colleagues are also thinking of reviving the tiffin meetings, which had started with the inception of MANM and carried on until Jethwa shifted to Ahmedabad in the latter half of 2008 so that he could commute more easily to state capital Gandhinagar and the Gujarat high court. Gandhinagar is 35km from Ahmedabad.

    “We are thinking of resuming the tiffin meetings to spread more awareness in the interior villages of Saurashtra,” said Yusuf Juneja, member of MANM and a professional signboard painter.

    Tiffin meetings used to be held once a month at different villages in Amreli, Junagadh and Jamnagar districts, where MANM volunteers and villagers used to meet and discuss the RTI Act and share their lunches.

    Gujarat high court advocate Vijay Nagesh, Jethwa’s lawyer in the mining PIL, says he will pursue the case. “He was murdered a month after he filed the PIL against the mining mafias. However, this does not mean that his work will stop. I will keep fighting,” Nagesh said. “Bhavin Jethwa (Jethwa’s brother) is now following this case...”

    Jethwa had accomplished a great deal through his filings. One of the PILs called for the appointment of more information commissioners as RTI appeals were piling up before the sole official handling the role. PIL forced the government to appoint two more information commissioners, says Nagesh.

    Apart from this, in March, government had to revise the rules governing the payment of RTI application fees.

    “Earlier, we had to pay fees in the form of a demand draft, a pay order or non-judicial stamp paper. To get demand draft, pay orders and stamp papers, villagers had to travel to the nearest town and spend more for transport as well as charges for issuing demand draft or pay order,” says Patadiya. “Jethwa filed a PIL saying that the government should allow revenue stamps also as the medium of payment as it was easily available at any village post office.”

    After Jethwa won, the state government allowed payment of RTI application fees in the form of revenue stamps.

    “Amit did what he could to defend democracy, but it is shameful that it is already 21 days since he was killed and the police department has made no progress in this case,” Bhikhubhai says. “No arrests have been made so far. I feel unless CBI (the Central Bureau of Investigation) interferes, this case will also die out soon.”


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  2. #22
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    Re: Amit Jethwa: RTI Activist shot dead in Gujarat


    As reported by Prashant Dayal in timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 14 August 2010:
    Police constable involved in Jethwa murder - Ahmedabad - City - The Times of India

    Police constable involved in Jethwa murder

    AHMEDABAD: In a startling development, investigations into the murder of RTIactivistAmit Jethwa have pointed at the involvement of a policeman. No accused have been arrested in this case so far.

    Jethwa was shot dead in the Sola area of Ahmedabad in July 20. It happened right opposite Gujarat High Court in a Satyameva Jayate complex around 8 pm, when Jethwa was about to get into his car. Just then two unknown men shot him from behind and killing him on the spot.

    The police found a bike, a country-made revolver and two live cartridges from the spot where Jethwa lay in a pool of blood.

    Ahmedabad city police on Friday brought a police constable named Bahadur and his nephew Sanjay for questioning from Kodinar, in Junagadh.

    Jethwa's family members have been alleging that this was a political murder and he was killed because he exposed the illegal mining mafia in Gir. They had named Junagadh MLA Dinu Solanki in the killing.

    The complaint was registered in the Sola police station and the investigation was being jointly carried out by the Ahmedabad city crime branch and city police.

    The crime branch acted on certain leads like the killer, identified as Shailesh, being from Suigam, Banaskantha. A few hours before the murder, Shailesh had bought some clothes from a place close to the murder site in Chandlodiya. Apparently, a police car had come to drop him in Ahmedabad from Diu.

    On the basis of these tips, the police landed in Saurashtra and learnt that politicians and police were involved in the killing. Bahadur and his nephew are believed to be very close to politicians.

    The police officials claim that within a week the entire plot will be clear and even if the killers are not caught, the motive would be known and planners nabbed.
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  3. #23
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    Re: Amit Jethwa: RTI Activist shot dead in Gujarat


    As reported in ibnlive.in.com on 16 August 2010:
    BJP MP's nephew detained in Jethwa murder case - Politics - Politics News - ibnlive

    BJP MP's nephew detained in Jethwa murder case


    Ahmedabad: Ahmedabad Police Crime Branch on Monday detained four people including the nephew of Bharatiya Janata Party MP from Jungarh in connection with the murder of Right to Information activist Amit Jethwa.

    Shiva Solanki is the nephew of BJP MP Dinubhai Boghabhai Solanki and also the Chairman of BJP-ruled Kodinar municipality. Shiva Solanki was detained Shiva by Ahmedabad Crime Branch in Kodinar.

    Three other people have also been detained and have been identified as Sanjay, Bahadur Singh and Haji Bhai. Sanjay was detained at Diu.

    Bahadur Singh is a Gujarat Police constable posted at the Gir Gadaha police station. Singh is also believed to be close to Dinubhai Boghabhai Solanki.

    One of the accused in the murder of Jethwa is still absconding.

    Jethwa was killed on the evening of July 20 near Gujarat High Court. Ahmedabad police official said that some unidentified men on a motorcycle fired at Jethwa killing him.

    Jethwa was reportedly coming out of a building after meeting his lawyer and about to enter his vehicle when he was fired upon. Even though he was hit in the abdomen by the bullets, he tried to grapple with his assailants, who fled from after leaving behind their motorcycle.

    He had filed several petitions in the Gujarat High Court against the forest department and had also filed a a public interest litigation (PIL) on the illegal mining in the Gir forests of Junagadh district which is considered the last abode of Asiatic lions in the world. Jethwa was also the president of Gir Nature Youth Club.
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  4. #24
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    Re: Amit Jethwa: RTI Activist shot dead in Gujarat



    As reported at news.oneindia.in on news.oneindia.in

    Ahmedabad, Aug 17: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP's nephew had been held in Junagarh in connection with RTI activist Amit Jethwa's murder case.

    According to CNN-IBN, Shiva Solanki is the nephew of BJP MP Dinubhai Boghabhai Solanki.

    Ahmedabad Police Crime Branch also arrested three other people along with Solanki on Monday, Aug 16.

    RTI activist, Jethwa was killed on Jul 20 near Gujarat High Court. Ahmedabad police official said that some unidentified men on a motorcycle fired at Jethwa.

    Jethwa filed several petitions in the Gujarat High Court against the forest department and had also filed a a public interest litigation (PIL) on the illegal mining in the Gir forests of Junagadh district.

  5. Re: Amit Jethwa: RTI Activist shot dead in Gujarat


    I understand that Hon'ble High Court has ordered Gujarat Police to file status report of investigation of murder of Shri Amit Jethava on 5th Sept 2010.
    It takes each of us to make difference for all of us.

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    Re: Amit Jethwa: RTI Activist shot dead in Gujarat


    As reported in dnaindia.com on 17 August 2010:
    Police close to solving Amit Jethava murder case - India - DNA

    Police close to solving Amit Jethava murder case

    Well-known RTI activist Amit Jethava was murdered in cold blood on July 20 in Ahmedabad, a killing that caused widespread outrage and drew much attention because a politician's hand was initially suspected in the crime. Jethava had filed a PIL against the illegal mining areas of Saurashtra at the time of his murder and it was suspected that he was killed because of this. Now that the police claim that they are close to solving the case, DNA traces the murder, the probable reasons behind it and other related matters.

    The murder
    Amit Jethava, the president of the Gir Nature Youth Club and a Right to Information (RTI) activist, was shot dead in front of the Gujarat high court on July 20, 2010 at around 8:30 pm. The killers came on a bike and shot him while he was coming out an advocate's office near the Bar Council of Gujarat office. Jethava managed to hold the assailants for some time, but they escaped from the spot leaving their bike behind.

    Was a land deal the motive behind the killing?
    After interrogating many people, the DCB had reportedly found that Jethava was killed due to a land deal of several crores. He was part of the deal which had actually harassed some people after which they managed to kill him via a contract killing.

    The political angle
    The name of a relative of a political leader too had been raised during the investigation. Sources close to the development said that the suspect has already been detained by DCB, but has not been arrested yet. The person is a close relative of a leader of political party and belongs to Kodinar.

    The gang
    From the very initial stages of the investigation, the police suspected the role of a gang from the Saurashtra area of the state in Jethava's killing. A source said that most of the work done by Jethava as an activist was in that region and so the police commenced the investigation by cornering the history-sheeters from Saurashtra.

    Clues which helped police
    Bike: The bike was found just behind Jethava's Gypsy. However, the number plate on the two-wheeler was wrong. The bike was numbered GJ 1DQ 2482. When the police verified the number, it was registered for a Scooty and not a motorcycle.

    Plastic bag: The bag was found near the bike and was attached to it. However, the police have not yet opened the bag.

    Two unused cartridges: When the sniffer dogs reached the cross roads behind the building, the police found two unused cartridges at the corner of the road.

    A sandal: On another side of the road from where the police found the cartridges, the police also found a sandal which they believe belongs to the accused.
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    Re: Amit Jethwa: RTI Activist shot dead in Gujarat


    As reported by PTI in dnaindia.com on 19 August 2010:
    One more held in RTI activist Amit Jethwa murder case - India - DNA

    One more held in RTI activist Amit Jethwa murder case


    Days after the arrest of a Junagadh constable in the alleged murder of RTI activist and green crusader Amit Jethwa, another accused has been held in connection with the case here, the police said today.

    Pachan Shiva, 28, one of the persons who shot Jethwa, was arrested from near the state transport bus depot late last night, crime branch officials said.

    Jethwa was shot dead from a close range near the Gujarat high court on July 20 after he filed a public interest litigation (PIL) against illegal mining in Gir forest region.

    On Monday, the city crime branch had arrested a police constable Bahadursinh Dhirubha Wadher, 37, posted in Girgadhada police station in Junagadh district, in connection with Jethwa's murder.

    According to police, Wadher had given the contract of killing Jethwa to Shiva and one Shailesh Pandya, a sharp shooter, who is still absconding.

    The duo, who came on a motorcycle, shot Jethwa when he was coming out of his lawyer's office near the High Court.

    Both Shiva and Pandya were promised Rs11 lakh by Wadher for killing Jethwa, police said.

    A day after Jethwa was shot dead his father Bhikabhai Jethwa had alleged that BJP MP from Junagadh Dinu Solanki was behind his son's murder.

    However, crime branch officials had said there were no leads which pointed at Solanki's involvement in the case.
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  8. #28
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    Re: Amit Jethwa: RTI Activist shot dead in Gujarat


    As reported in dnaindia.com on 23 August 2010:
    One more held in Jethava case - India - DNA

    One more held in Jethava case

    The crime branch sleuths on Sunday arrested one more accused in RTI activist, Amit Jethava, murder case.

    Sanjay Parbatbhai Chauhan, 21, who was already under detention, was arrested by the sleuths for his alleged role in
    the killing.

    According to sources, Chauhan, a resident of Una in Junagadh district, was also part of the conspiracy to kill the activist. He reportedly helped the contract killers to identify Jethava before he was murdered in the city. "Chauhan helped the killers by showing the office and house of the deceased," sources added.

    So far, three persons, including a police constable Bahadursinh Dhirubha Wadher, have been arrested in the case. Wadher was arrested a week ago. The other arrested accused is Pachan Shiva, 28, who, according to police, is one of the two assailants who had shot Jethava on the night of July 20 near the Gujarat high court.

    According to police, Wadher had given the contract of killing Jethava to Shiva and one Shailesh Pandya, a sharpshooter, who is still absconding. Earlier the crime branch had said that the duo was promised Rs11 lakh by Wadher for killing Jethava.
    Twitter: @cjkarira

  9. #29

    Re: Amit Jethwa: RTI Activist shot dead in Gujarat


    Martyrs To Democracy..

    Martyrs to transparency
    Shan



    Information is the seed for an idea, and only grows when it is watered.

  10. #30
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    Re: Amit Jethwa: RTI Activist shot dead in Gujarat


    As reported at indianexpress.com on Sep 07 2010

    BJP MP Dinu Solanki's nephew held in murder of green activist


    Ahmedabad : Influential BJP MP Dinu Solanki's nephew Shiva Solanki was arrested on Tuesday morning from the Rajkot airport for the murder of RTI activist and green crusader Amit Jethawa.
    Solanki was taking an early morning flight to Mumbai when he was held by the cops.

    The Ahmedabad police had kept Shiva Solanki under a tight watch ever since investigations indicated that the MP's nephew might have hired the contract killers who shot Jethawa dead opposite the Gujarat High Court on July 20.

    Jethawa was disliked by many, sources said, as he was campaigning against illegal mining in the Gir Sanctuary areas. Several politicians are allegedly involved in mining here. Jethawa had filed a public interest litigation against illegal mining a few days before he was shot dead.

    Deputy Commissioner of Police, Crime, Himansh Shukla confirmed Solanki's arrest and said: “Solanki was picked up at 8.30 am. He was on his way to Mumbai.”

    Shukla said Solanki is the main accused in the murder case. “He had asked another accused Bahadursinh Dhirubhai Wadher to eliminate Amit Jethawa. Bahadur then planned the crime and executed it with the help of sharpshooters Shailesh Pandya and Pachan Shiva, who have been arrested.”

    Police sources say Bahadurshinh during interrogation had first spilled the beans on Solanki. He had told police that six mines of Shiva Solanki were non-operational because of Jethawa's application against them. Jethawa had also objected to the mobile towers here erected by Solanki, police sources said.

    Shiva Solanki is the Vice President of the Kodinar Nagar Palika in Saurashtra.

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