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Pradeep Singh

Bhubaneswar: Hundreds of Right to Information (RTI) activists on Monday took out a protest rally from Master Canteen and marched towards Naveen Niwas in Bhubaneswar demanding a CBI probe into the alleged murder of an RTI activist in Kendrapara.

The RTI activists were intercepted midway by the police personnel while they were on their way to gherao Naveen Niwas. The protestors alleged that the police are trying to project the death of RTI activist Ranjan Das as an accident following instructions from the ruling-BJD MLA Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak.

"If Odisha government is not involved in the death of the RTI activist, it must order CBI probe into the case. We will accept whatever report the premier investigating agency submits after probing the case," said RTI activist, Pradeep Pradhan.

RTI district coordinator, Ranjan Das was found dead under mysterious condition near Beruhan village under Marshaghai police limits on February 1, 2020. Family members of Das had then alleged murder as the latter's body was found with multiple injuries in a ditch near his home. However, police ruled out a case of murder and instead attributed it to an accident.

It is pertinent to mention here that 18 retired IAS officers had in February sought Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s intervention into the rising cases of attacks on RTI activists in Odisha.

“Such killings are dangerous both in terms of personal loss of human life as well as the message that they are meant to send to people who work untiringly for justice, transparency and accountability. The conclusions drawn from earlier attacks and potentially from this murder, question the Odisha government’s claim of integrity and no tolerance for corruption,” the ex-bureaucrats had said in a letter while condemning the brutal ‘murder’ of Das and also another RTI activist, Abhimanyu Panda of Kandhamal district.

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