Murder of Vinayak Baliga – RTI Activist who Fought for Justice

Cold-Blooded Murder of Vinayak Baliga-RTI Activist who Fought for Justice

Mangaluru: The brutal murder of Vinayak Baliga who was an RTI activist and a contractor by profession has shocked the people of Mangaluru. This carried out by what appears to be a professional gang has left his aged parents and unmarried sisters distraught and helpless. He had made many enemies as those who stand for truth and probity in public life do. He had filed many cases against many powerful vested interests, lobbies and religious groups. A bachelor and a devotee of Venkatramana he would start his daily routine with a visit to the temple.

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Probably what he saw on the road on his way back and forth must have raised his hackles because he had seen gross violations of laws. For example there is a school complex in the area which would cause traffic blockages and the road in the residential locality was made one way at the behest of the owners of this educational complex. Again on the same road is a huge complex of hundreds of flats which should install its own sewage treatment plant but has not done so to date and a host of such.

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This flat complex has sewage leaking from its premises into the storm water drains as on 24/03/2016 at around 11 am as the photo shows. He had filed a number of complaints one of which had come up for hearing today on 24th at the office of the corporation commissioner. He had filed a number of complaints and cases against the irregularities at the nearby Temple- Car street, Mangaluru, where he used to go for worship. In fact he had made a number of allegations about very serious irregularities in the financial affairs. He had taken on some important members of this very affluent influential community. In fact two of his close friends who were co-litigants have refused to speak out about the issue as it looks like they too are in fear of their lives. The fear of the opponents of this activist is so much that people who know the facts have refused to go on record to say what they know about his cases.

It is also mentioned that he had filed a public interest litigation against the Mangaluru City Corporation against the violation of building laws by a number of influential builders and others. It was also said that the high court had directed the City Corporation to investigate and file a report within 30 days. We are waiting for the confirmation of that. One of his friends had informed me that though Baliga had given a copy of that judgment to the press none of them had the courage to publish it or looks like this lobby has suppressed it.

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Though Vinayaka Baliga was a fearless activist the members of his family were not so. His father who is 85 years old is now bedridden. As it is he was not keeping in good health and this untimely death of his son has totally shaken him up. Vinayak’s mother is frail and is hardly in any condition to look after her husband. All his files have been taken by the police and the family members whom never used to inform about his activities as it would cause them to worry do not know much about what he was doing. His family members still rue the day when he was unable to take his father to the hospital because of the blockage of the main road by the vehicles of the nearby School and the police made him take a diversion which was again blocked due to marriage at a nearby marriage hall.

Seeing that he had complained to the commissioner of police about making a one way road at a residential locality at the behest of the owner of a education complex on it. He had probed further into the affair and found that part of it was a unauthorized construction. It has been experienced by many that even the road in front of the school which is public property is treated like the private property of the school with their watchman regulating the parking there! Perhaps such things and many more in this city which is the fiefdom of the moral police, the gangsters of various communal outfits, the dals and senas would have rankled this activist like they do for many of us. It was Baliga today who next is the question before all of us who dare to raise out voices against the injustices of the system.

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About Author:

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Prof. Narendra Nayak is a notable rationalist, skeptic, and Godman debunker from Mangaluru. He is the current president of the Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations (FIRA). He founded the Dakshina Kannada Rationalist Association in 1976 and has been its secretary since then. He also found an NGO called Aid Without Religion in July 2011. He tours the country conducting workshops to promote scientific temper and showing people how to debunk God men and frauds. He has conducted over 2000 such demonstrations in India, including some in Australia, Greece and England. He is also a polyglot who speaks nine languages fluently, which helps him when he is giving talks in various parts of the country.

In the meantime a ardent Mangalorean.com reader, Melroy Fernandes- Moodbidri has submitted the copy of the letter to our website drafted by convenors of National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI) to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah :

To,

Mr Siddaramaiah
Chief Minister of Karnataka

March 23, 2016

Dear Mr Siddaramaiah,

Subject: Alleged murder of RTI activist Vinayak Baliga in Mangaluru

The National Campaign for Peoples’ Right to Information (NCPRI) expresses its grave concern over the alleged murder of an RTI activist in Mangaluru. According to media reports, the RTI activist Vinayak Baliga, aged 51, was attacked with sharp weapons and hacked more than seventeen times. The incident took place outside his house on 21st March 2016 at around 5:30 a.m.

According to media reports, Vinayak Baliga had filed several RTI applications exposing misappropriation of public funds and illegal constructions and had received threats. He had also gathered information about misappropriation of funds by a temple.

NCPRI strongly condemns the attack and urges the government to ensure a thorough investigation into the murder of Vinayak Baliga. The state must look into the various cases of wrongdoing and corruption unearthed by Baliga and take stringent action against the guilty. Considering the increasing number of attacks on RTI activists in the country, the government must push for effective implementation of Whistle blowers’ Protection Act, which is crucial to protect people who expose corruption and wrongdoing.

We demand that the law enforcing authorities do a thorough investigation and bring the culprits to book immediately. We also insist that all the information that Mr. Baliga had received through his 90 and more applications, be put into the public domain for the general information of the public and for use by any citizens who would like to take forward his mission.

Best wishes and regards,

Anjali Bhardwaj, Nikhil Dey, Venkatesh Nayak, Bhaskar Prabhu, Rakesh Dubuddu, Joykumar Wahengbam
(Co-conveners, NCPRI)

Cc: L Krishnamurthy, State Chief Information Commissioner, Karnataka Information Commission
Om Prakash, Director General of Police, Karnataka

National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI):
Our official email is: ncpri.india@gmail.com
Our official website is: www.righttoinformation.info
If you receive any information regarding NCPRI from any other source please check with us.
In service of RTI-Bhaskar Prabhu-Convenor Mahiti Adhikar Manch & Maharashtra RTI Council :9892102424

Democracy” is not a spectator sport..! Participate in “Democracy” to enjoy the sport..!

by Narendra Nayak -President of the Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations

7 Comments

  1. Dear readers,

    Mahiti Adhikar Gujarat Pahel (MAGP), or Gujarat Initiative for Right to Information, and People’s Union of Civil Liberties(PUCL) have alleged that there is a “jungle raj” in Gujarat because of the state being on top of the list of murders of RTI activists and whistleblowers and on third position in the list of custodial killings.
    In a report released to media, MAGP representative Pankti Jog said that a total of 12 RTI activists had been murdered in the state since the implementation of RTI provisions in the state in 2005.
    Maharashtra ranks top in the number of attacks against, and murder of RTI activists. This indicate unholy nexus between corporates and politicians.
    http://www.firstpost.com/india/most-rti-activists-killed-in-maharashtra-since-law-came-about-gujarat-up-come-second-2424162.html
    The data, which has been compiled from news media reports over a decade, reveals that Maharashtra saw ten RTI activists being killed in as many years. Maharashtra also has the highest total number of such attacks, with 60 of attacks in the state.
    There is a need to amend the RTI Act to provide for the protection of those seeking information under the Act. The Asian Centre for Human Rights recommends that a separate chapter, “Protection of those seeking information under the(RTI) Act”, be inserted into the Act. Protection measures should include (a)mandatory, immediate registration of complaints of threats or attacks against RTI activists on the First Information Report and placing such FIRs before the magistrate or judge of the area within 24 hours for issuance of directions for protection of those under threats and their family members, and periodic review of such protection measures; (b)conducting inquiry into threats or attacks by a police officer not below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police/Assistant Commissioner of Police, to be concluded within 90 days; and (c)trial of the accused within six months. Further, concerned Public Information Officers, First Appellate Authorities and those directly related with the information sought under the RTI Act should be presumed to have abetted the offenses against the RTI activists unless evidence proves otherwise.
    Ab ki baar Modi sarkar,freedom of expression is became choice between death or tag of ‘anti national’.It is Rohit Verumala before now Baliga fell for exposing corruption.Who is next?

    Jai Hind

  2. Dear Mr.Rizwan,
    Very interesting,thank you for the post and the ACHR recommendation.
    If possible please get in touch with Mr.Bhaskar Prabhu on 9892102424. We should like to hear from you. Or please provide your contact number.

    Thanks.

  3. Dear Mr. Rizwan,
    Very informative. Thank you.
    Please get in touch with Mr.Bhaskar Prabhu, Convenor, Mahiti Adhikar Manch, on 9892102424.
    Or how can we contact you.

  4. The RTI activists should have a website and all the information they get through RTI should be uploaded for public to view. Govt. can make a provision in the law and maintain a national website. If a RTI activist is killed, all his files should be automatically transferred over to the CBI for investigating on priority basis.

  5. Police should do everything possible to catch those culprits who committed this ghastly murder of an innocent individual. However, blaming Hindu outfits for this brutal murder without an clear evidence is highly irresponsible and dishonest. Politicizing an unfortunate incident is something we expect from dishonest politicians, right?

  6. Dear Mr.Melory
    Sir,There are already steps being taken in this regard. As you know our bureaucracy is invaded by Sangh Parivar in Coastal Canara the action will be slow.

    Thanks for your support. Hope we will stand for the nation to unite.
    Jai Hind

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