mid day editorial: Activists shouldn't be alone in the good fight

Published: Feb 14, 2019, 07:20 IST | mid-day online correspondent

At first we have to make it clear that these are early days and the post-murder investigation will reveal what exactly transpired that led to this

mid day editorial: Activists shouldn't be alone in the good fight

In yet another indication that activists continue to pay the price for seeking the truth, or raising uncomfortable, inconvenient questions, a 32-year-old Right to Information (RTI) activist was murdered. He was a resident of Katraj, Pune, and vice-president of Republican Party of India (RPI).

At first we have to make it clear that these are early days and the post-murder investigation will reveal what exactly transpired that led to this. It should most importantly establish a motive.

Certain markers, though, in a report published in this paper, are revealing. The activist was reported missing from his house and according to family members, had received death threats earlier. He was seeking information about illegal construction taking place in Pune.

The macro picture shows us that RTI activists continue to be under threat. They have to be protected as much as possible, because theirs is an activism that puts them directly in the line of danger.

The killings or grievous harming of activists have a two-pronged aim. The first obvious one is silencing the activist. The second, though, is to spread fear among like-minded individuals pursuing similar cases, as a threat or warning to them about a similar fate that may await them. While there may be a couple of black-sheep activists working for vested interests, they do not negate the crucial work that genuine activists do.

Activism is the lifeblood of a free nation, a watchdog entrenched in the community, and a moral compass for society. The RTI, when used correctly, is a powerful tool. That is why the protection of activists is paramount. Police action should be swift and sharp to keep the morale high amongst activists and not douse their fire.

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