Thursday, March 19, 2015

Shadow on graves of honest men

New Delhi: The mysterious death of 2009 batch IAS officer D K Ravi on Monday has sent ripples across the country and his family's demand for justice has become a national campaign.
This issue of his death highlights the issue of how Indian bureaucrats and whistle-blowers have lost their lives while performing their duties honestly.
NewsMobile presents a list of all such officers and activists who were killed in the line of duty, besides the death of D K Ravi.
Govind Pansare: The 82-year-old anti-toll activist was shot on February 16 and was admitted to Breach Candy Hospital for further treatment where he succumbed to his injuries on February 20. Pansare had taken lead in the anti-toll campaign in Kolhapur and was a member of Kolhapur Anti-Toll Committee. He was also known to make statements and speeches against right-wing groups, and involved in labour movement and student groups.
Narendra Dabholkar: Anti-superstition activist and Maharashtra’s most vocal rationalist, Narendra Dabholkar (65), was shot dead by two youth on a motorcycle on the Omkareshwar Bridge near Pune’s Shanivar Peth area while he was on a morning walk on August 19, 2013. Dabholkar, a medical doctor, turned to social work more than two decades ago. In 1989, he set up the Maharashtra Andhrashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti to help eradicate superstition. His state-wide movement targeted Godmen and superstitious practices.
Lalit Mehta, RTI activist: Lalit Mehta used RTI to expose MNREGA related scams. He fought for the social audit of MNREGA. He was brutally killed on May 15, 2008 in Jharkhand.
Satyendra Dubey: 30-year-old Satyendra Dubey was gunned down on November 27, 2003 in Bihar, for exposing corruption and financial irregularities in the Golden Quadrilateral NHAI project. He was serving as an Indian Engineering Service (IES) officer in the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
Shanmughan Manjunath: Manjunath, a Grade A officer in the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), was murdered for taking on the Oil mafia. He exposed two illegal petrol pumps in Lakhimpur Kheri, Uttar Pradesh for selling adulterated fuel for three months. He was shot dead on November 19, 2005.
Narendra Kumar: In March 2012, Narendra Kumar, an IPS officer, was killed while chasing a tractor loaded with illegally mined stones in Morena district of Madhya Pradesh. Kumar had spotted a tractor during patrolling and tried to stop it, blocking its path by his Jeep. But the driver of the tractor ploughed into him. The death caused outrage across the country because Kumar was evidently killed for trying to combat illegal mining in the state.
Satish Shetty: Satish, an RTI activist who exposed many land scams in Maharashtra, was killed by unidentified men while he was on a morning walk at Talegaon on the outskirts of the city on January 13, 2010. Shetty, a whistleblower, was credited with throwing light on several major land scams in the picturesque Talegaon—Lonavala regions, now a favourite with realtors in the state. He shot to fame after exposing certain corrupt land deals in and around the country’s first expressway, the Mumbai—Pune expressway, over a decade ago.
S P Mahantesh: 48-year-old Karnataka Administrative Service officer had raised his voice against irregularities relating to allotment of land to cooperative societies in the state. On May 16, 2012, he was beaten mercilessly with an irod rod and five days later, he succumbed to injuries.
Yashwant Sonawane: In 2011, Yashwant Sonawane, Additional District Collector of Malegaon, was burnt alive with kerosene by the Oil mafia at Manmad in Maharashtra. The 44-year-old Sonawane had caught the oil mafia pilfering fuel from a tanker. Sonawane was building a case against a person named Popat Shinde, the prime accused in his murder. Shinde has been working with the Oil mafia for over 30 years. Sonawane had seized 4,000 litres of kerosene and 3,000 litres of petrol from Shinde’s dhaba.
MN Vijayakumar is an IAS officer in Karnataka who blew whistle exposing serious corrupt practices at high level in the state. He and his wife have faced 40 death threats and endless transfers as the couple exposed corruption in the highest ranks of the Karnataka government.
Other brave officers like Ashok Khemka, Durga Shakti Nagpal and Sanjiv Chaturvedi among others have been subjected to a lot of transfers and removal from their appointments as they have taken stern actions against wrong doers.

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