An RTI activist was killed while another was attacked by miscreants in two different incidents in Karnataka on July 15. In the first incident, T Shridhar, a 40-year-old activist based in Harapanahalli in Bellary was murdered by unidentified persons on July 15 between 6.30 pm and 7 pm, police said. Meanwhile, Venkatesh, another RTI activist, was attacked by a gang and grievously suffered injuries on his leg and hand. The incident took place in Tavarekere, on the outskirts of Bengaluru in full public view. Police complaints have been filed in both cases.
Activist T Shridhar filed multiple RTIs in connection to different issues in the area and authorities suspect that he was likely killed due to this, said Murthi Rao, Deputy Superintendent of Harapanahalli town police. Speaking to TNM, the official said that the activist died of a major head injury after he was attacked by assailants. â€śWe have filed an FIR based on his wifeâ€™s complaint, who suspected that he was killed since he used to file a lot of RTIs, which allegedly did not go down well with some people. The accused have not been identified yet. However, we have four to five suspects and we are investigating the same,â€ť he said. He added that the FIR has been filed under Section 302 (Murder) and other sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Venkatesh had been filing RTI applications seeking information on various departments of the state government. A report in The Hindu quoted a senior official stating that he had also filed many corruption complaints and that some projects were stopped because of his complaints. He was attacked by lethal weapons and his leg and hand was severed. He was later taken to a hospital, where is undergoing treatment. The incident purportedly happened just a few meters away from the jurisdictional police station.
Ramnagar Superintendent of Police (SP) Girish told IANS that they have formed three special teams to probe the matter. The police maintained that they are also looking into the angle of rivalry and personal enmity. He said that further investigation is underway.
(With IANS inputs)