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CIC asks state govts to protect life of RTI activists

New Delhi: Concerned over a string of attacks on RTI activists, the Central Information Commission(CIC) has asked state governments to take "urgent" steps to safeguard the life and liberty of information seekers.

"They (state governments) should invoke the relevant penal provisions for the prevention and detection of such heinous crimes," the Commission observed at its recent meeting.

Regretting the "reported killings" of RTI activists and assault on them in different parts of the country, the transparency panel also said it will take proactive steps in ascertaining the status of probe in such cases.

The meeting chaired by Chief Information Commissioner Satyananda Mishra resolved that if any complaint regarding assault or murder of an RTI activist comes before it, it "will examine the pending RTI applications of the victim and order the concerned department to publish the requested information suo moto on their web site as per the provisions of law."

"The Commission also resolves that it will take proactive steps in ascertaining the status of investigations and prosecution of cases involving information seekers and endeavour to have these processes expedited," the resolution said.

According to some estimates, at least 12 RTI activists were killed while many others attacked between January 2010 and August 2011.

Shehla Masood from Bhopal, Amit Jethwa from Gujarat, Dattatreya Patil, a farmer from Kolhapur and Shashidhar Mishra, a street vendor from Begusarai in Bihar were among those who lost their lives.

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