RTI activist shot dead for seeking information

RTI activist shot dead for seeking information

Zakir Siddique, an RTI activist, was allegedly shot dead by the supporters of panchyat chief of Lalbojhi village in Uttar Pradesh’s Shravasti district, about 250 kilometres from here, late on Saturday night.

The panchayat chief’s husband Jagdev Verma and other supporters have been charged with killing Zakir after the victim’s wife Kamanrunnisha lodged an FIR in this regard, police sources said.

According to reports, Zakir had sought details of development works being undertaken in the village by the panchayat chief and had filed an application under the RTI Act with the district development officer.

“He would often visit the district officials and complain about the lack of development works or misappropriation of funds by the panchayat office bearers and demand action,” Kamanrunnisha said.

He also reportedly threatened to approach the state information commission as district officials were reluctant to provide him the information. The panchayat chief’s husband and his supporters had warned Zakir of serious consequences and asked him to withdraw his RTI query but he had declined.

Jagdev Verma and his supporters intercepted Zakir near his home on Saturday night and allegedly opened fire at him after an altercation. 

Zakir was rushed to the near by community health centre at Ikauna where he was declared brought dead.

Four people were taken into custody in connection with the killing while a main accused was absconding and a hunt has been launched to nab him, the police said.

RTI activists had been killed in the past for seeking information and threatening to expose corrupt public officials. An RTI activist had been killed in UP's Sonebhadra district earlier.