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Manipur RTI activist ostracised

By Sobhapati Samom

IMPHAL, Aug 10 � An RTI activist in Manipur�s Imphal East district has been ostracised in his own village for raising question over the construction of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan school building.

Th Biren Singh (55) of Wakhong village fearing the eviction of the village school building in future if constructed in the unauthorised land, filed an RTI application enquiring whether the school building was constructed within the school�s authorised (patta) land or not.

�Now, the villagers who were believed to have been influenced by local politicians, socially boycotted him for moving the RTI case�, Manipur�s noted RTI activist Wahengbam Joykumar said. �Besides, he was not even served at the village tea-stalls or other shops�.

Like Biren, many RTI activists in the State have been facing direct or indirect threats or pressures mostly from the elected representatives, the activist claimed.

�So we are forming a united forum called � Transparency Initiative Manipur (TIM) for the RTI activists of the State to face such threats and pressures collectively besides monitoring relevant cases�, he added. The first State level convention of TIM on people�s rights to information will be held on August 6 next.

The rights activist who had filed more than 30 RTI cases besides being consultant for 200 cases since the introduction of RTI six years ago, wondered why Police and Jail departments were exempted from the purview of RTI unlike in other States.

�However, some of the citizens have benefited their basic rights after the RTI interventions,� said Kh Bobby, another RTI activist.

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