Friends, relatives of anti-corruption activists seek justice

Kins and friends of whistleblowers joined Anna Hazare on Sunday, demanding to bring a strict law for protecting whistleblowers.

They spoke about “unfair” justice given to whistleblowers, who “gave their lives while trying to bring to light corruption cases”.

Coming from Surat was Jasuben, wife of Vishram Laxman Dodiya, a roadside bookseller in Surat, who was allegedly killed in 2010.

“It was a murder but police are calling it a suicide,” she said. “The accused is roaming free. Me and my son have been fighting for justice for a decade now. We have been living without electricity for the last 10 years,” said Jasuben. 

After her husband’s neighbour was able to get electricity installed by using fake documents in 2002, he sought information on power lines installed by the company concerned.

In February 2010, Dodiya was allegedly killed near his house. While Jasuben stitches clothes to earn a living, her son rides an autorickshaw to make ends meet.

Sughuna Rao along with her two-year-old daughter from Andhra Pradesh also joined Hazare’s movement, asking for the arrest of people who killed her husband. 

“He was beaten to death on his way home in 2010. Nobody has been arrested. It seems like nobody cares,” she said. A relative of a 52-year-old whistleblower, Mahendra Sharma, who is a clerk in UP’s Lakhimpur health department, termed Sharma’s death as a murder. 

A family friend of 21-year-old Satish Kumar from Tisyanvilai, Tamil Nadu, who tried to stop a truck carrying illegal sand from a river, said the main accused has not been arrested yet.

Ashrita Tirkey, wife of engineer-turned-activist Lalit Mehta, said a strict law to protect whistleblowers in the country is needed. 

On the murders of Right To Information activists, Bhagwandas Dhakan said slain RTI activist Amit Jethwa was shot dead outside Gujarat High Court in 2010. Amit had tried to expose illegal mining in Gir Sanctuary. “We are demanding our basic right to safety.”

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