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CLAIM ID

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17 activists who used the RTI Act to expose corruption in Bihar have been murdered since 2008.

There is no centralised data on the killing of RTI activists. A senior RTI activist from Bihar said more than 16 activists were killed in 11 years.

The RTI (Right to Information) Act came into effect in 2005. While it has been instrumental in exposing corruption and bringing greater transparency in the governance system, many media organisations have reported killings of RTI activists who used the Right to Information Act to expose corruption in Bihar.

According to the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, a private organization that maps the attacks on RTI activists, around 68 of the deaths of RTI activists between 2005 and 2018, have been listed as outright murders. Out of these, 6 murders have taken place in Bihar, reported Business Insider.

In another report by the Indian Express from Dec 26, 2018, an abducted RTI activist, Bhola Sah (40), a resident of Phullidummar, who had exposed corruption in his panchayat, was found dead, a day after his kidnapping. According to the report, Sah’s was the fifth case of an RTI activist’s murder in Bihar in 2018. According to the police, Sah had sought information on alleged misappropriation of funds under several schemes. After he was found dead, his brother Vinod Sah lodged a case against the local mukhiya’s husband Vinod Tanti and six others.

Despite the above reports, the Central Vigilance Commission, which is the designated agency to receive whistleblowers complaints, on Dec 16, 2015, announced that it has not come across any confirmed incident of victimization or killing of a complainant in the past three years and that there was no centralised data regarding the killing of whistleblowers or RTI activists

According to a report published by Hindustan Times in Jan 2020, Bihar-based RTI activist Shiv Prakash Rai pegged the number of RTI activists who had been killed in the state in the last 11 years at more than 16.

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