RTI activist in trouble for asking too many questions

August 27th, 2008 - 12:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Agra, Aug 27 (IANS) You could be asking for trouble by asking too many questions under the Right to Information Act. This was learnt the hard way by an activist here, who was told by the police that he was interfering in government work as he persisted with queries in the case of a woman kept in a protection home for seven years without being charged.RTI activist Naresh Paras of Amnesty International was hauled up by an official at the Etmauddaula police station for asking too many questions and “harassing the superintendent of the Women’s Protection Home by persistently pressing for information”. This, according to the police, constitutes “interference in government work”.

About six months ago, IANS highlighted the plight of Munni, 22, who had been detained in the protection home for apparently no reason. She had neither been charged with any crime nor declared insane.

For over seven years she stayed in the home. Under pressure from human rights activists, she was sent to Kanpur two months ago.

Paras had wanted some specific information about her case. The questions were not answered and Munni’s file was tossed from one department to another department.

On Saturday, Paras was summoned by the officer in charge of the Etmauddaula police station after a complaint was filed by the protection home superintendent Geeta Rakesh.

Rakesh denied lodging any written complaint, but admitted to having orally complained to the police official.

Rakesh told IANS that she had never refused to give information, but the RTI activist was never satisfied.

“Some of the questions he asked were irrelevant, like who is responsible for Munni’s `Barbadi’ (depredation)? How can I name any official?” Rakesh said.

Paras Tuesday submitted memorandums to police and administrative officials asking for protection as he perceived a threat to his life.

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