Avenging a slap, through RTI
Posted by rtiact2005 on July 14, 2006
Citizens often complain of humiliation by the police, which may be “abuse.” While most suffer silently, one such citizen has decided to ascertain accountability under the RTI Act.
Paresh Parekh, 34, a resident of Sabarmati area in Ahmedabad, used to drive an autorickshaw at nights, during 1994-95 to eke out a living.
A policeman once accosted him while on a “combing operation” and searched his vehicle. All he could find was a screwdriver, which the constable decided was a dangerous “weapon.” A shocked Parekh was rebuked and slapped. But, he bore this insult and injury silently, biding his time.
A strange thought struck him while watching the inauguration ceremony of the Vastrapur lake. He saw dignitaries like leader of the Opposition, LK Advani, Chief Minister Narendra Modi being gifted swords, which were brandished by these leaders.
It was then that the question popped up in his mind – if his screwdriver was a dangerous weapon, what about swords ? Why such double standards? And, since both the leaders enjoy special category protection, why were swords allowed near them? What if something went wrong?
Several unanswered letters later, Parekh, under the RTI, sought to know why, and who was responsible for making arrangements for presenting these leaders with swords. He also asked how many people have been booked for carrying dangerous weapons in public and if not, why ? His questions included why he was slapped for carrying a screwdriver.
The city police commissioner’s office transferred the letter to the office of DCP (Zone-I), a month ago. Parekh has appealed and is determined to get answers.
Meanwhile, Urmila Solanki, 18, of Asarwa, a volunteer at the RTI Camp, used her right to know the status of her ration card application. It also redeemed her standing in her family and she has now stood out as an example for her community.
The only daughter of a safai kamdar, she grew up hearing taunts of how a son would have helped the family more. With her mother’s support, she studied till standard 12 and ended up at the camp to help others.
Soon, she realised that she could ask questions on her family’s pending ration card. She filed her questions and on the fifth day, received the news that the ration card, which was pending for two years, has been issued. An emotional Urmila shared with all what her father said – “You are now as good as a son!”
The RTI campaign at Kochrab Ashram in Ahmedabad ends on July 15.