Congress alleges victimisation of arrested RTI activist

September 29th, 2008 - 5:00 pm ICT by IANS  

Lucknow, Sep 29 (IANS) The state Congress president has alleged that its Right To Information (RTI) activist Shailendra Singh who was arrested last week was being victimised by the state government. Singh is to appear before a sessions court Tuesday and is expected to move a bail application, Congress officials said. He was arrested on a complaint by a senior official of the office of the Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) after Singh, along with his supporters, allegedly attacked and ransacked the CIC office.

He was booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and Criminal Law Amendment Act and sent to jail.

Singh, in his late thirties, had resigned as an additional superintendent of Uttar Pradesh police in 2004 and joined the Congress, which made him the chairman of the party’s task force on RTI.

The arrest has raised the hackles of the Congress for several reasons. One is for the way he was arrested at 1.30 a.m. by breaking open his house doors.

Secondly, the party has also denied that Singh and his supporters created any ruckus at the information commission.

State Congress president Rita Bahuguna Joshi told reporters that Singh was being victimised for having filed a litigation against Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati’s re-building the Ambedkar Park at a huge expense.

Ambedkar Park is a concrete memorial to Dalit icon B.R. Ambedkar and BSP founder Kanshi Ram.

The case is in progress in the Supreme Court and Singh was slated to appear for it Monday. “The police, acting at the behest of the chief minister, arrested him to prevent him from reaching the apex court, ” Joshi alleged.

The police denied any high-handedness in its conduct.

“After repeated requests, Singh refused to open the door forcing the police to break open the doors,” additional director general of police (law and order) Brijlal clarified after the arrest.

However, Singh’s family members claimed that police manhandled him and broke the doors without any instigation.

He was produced before the court after the arrest and was shifted to the Lucknow district jail after his bail plea was rejected.

Talking about Singh’s resignation from the force, an official of the Special Task Force said: “He (Singh) caught a military soldier, who had been declared an abscondor, while he was trying to sell a military light machine gun to the Mukhtar Ansari gang. However, following mounting political pressure to shut the case, he resigned”.

Singh joined Congress in 2004 and since then he was active in filing RTI applications to know about the government initiated projects.

The Congress has launched a state wide stir demanding Singh’s release and “our delegation also met governor Saturday for this,” Joshi said.

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