Sonia mourns deaths of transparency law activists

September 16th, 2010 - 12:20 am ICT by IANS  

Sonia Gandhi New Delhi, Sep 15 (IANS) Expressing pain over the deaths of right to information (RTI) activists working to expose corruption in government schemes, Congress president Sonia Gandhi has said that a bill cleared by the cabinet will protect such brave individuals.
The Congress president said in her letter to Congresspersons in the party mouthpiece “Sandesh” that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government has empowered the people through the Right to Information Act.

“Since it was passed, tens of thousands of ordinary citizens have used it effectively. Sadly, those who stand to lose or be indicted have responded with violence and we are deeply pained by news of the death of activists working to expose corruption in government programmes,” she said.

Apparently referring to the cabinet nod to the Public Interest Disclosure (Protection of Informers) Bill, 2010, she said the government had recently passed the legislation to protect such whislteblowers.

“We hope that people will wield this powerful weapon in growing numbers to rectify wrongs, expose corruption and ensure their rights. I urge all party workers to make full use of this historic Act and through it expose corruption,” she said.

Amit Jethwa, an activist, was killed in Ahmedabad in July this year. His family said that he was killed as he was fighting illegal mining which allegedly involved several politicians.

The Congress president said in her letter that the party had taken a lead in exposing corruption and devastation caused by illegal mining in Karnataka.

Referring to the march by party leaders to Bellary, she hoped that partymen in other regions will also play a major role in exposing illegal activities that affect the environment and livelihood of villagers.

Pointing to the passage of the nuclear liability bill, she said it was a legislation that will not only help the country in nuclear commerce but put in place a mechanism that will hold the parties concerned responsible for in the event of an accident.

“India cannot and will not accept another disaster like Bhopal. Our home minister has already pointed out how successive governments since the Bhopal gas disaster were responsible for the inadequate action taken in response to a disaster of this magnitude. We must now look to the future and how we can best take care of the victims,” she said.

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