Right to Information – Master key to good governance

MEDIA-ALERT: Police arrests RTI Activists despite of assurance by President Kalam

Posted by rtiact2005 on October 14, 2006

MEDIA-ALERT: Police arrests RTI Activists despite of assurance by President Kalam
Friday October 13, 2006
Late evening

NEW DELHI: Today President of India Mr Kalam was addressing a 
gathering of Government and non-governmental organizations and 
individuals working on Right to Information (RTI) in India in Vigyan 
Bhawan, to mark the opening of National RTI Convention. During his 
speech, few activists of Parivartan and Asha Parivar opened up two 
banners with the following messages on them: "SACK CIC – SAVE RTI" 
and "President please allow us to speak for 2 minutes". This was 
indeed a very peaceful display by activists and no slogan shouting or 
any attempt to disrupt the meeting was made. President continued to 
address the gathering. After the President, Mr OP Kejriwal spoke. 
After which, an announcement was made on behalf of President of India 
that RTI activists (who demanded President to give them 2 minutes) 
are welcome to send an email to President and then schedule an 
appointment to make their case. The meeting came to an end peacefully.

When 7 RTI activists of Parivartan came out of Vigyan Bhawan, Police 
arrested them, including Manish Sisodiya, who has been instrumental 
in shaping the campaign and engaging people with the RTI movement. 
Those arrested have been taken to Tughlaqabad Police Station.

This is very undemocratic for Police to arrest people despite of the 
fact that President of India agreed to give them an audience. Also is 
noteworthy that the display of banner was done in an extremely 
peaceful manner and no attempt was made to disrupt the meeting or 
disturb the President's address in any way. Our democracy must allow 
space to dissent peacefully and in righteous manner, and if this 
space to dissent is also curbed, then it raises serious questions on 
our democracy itself.

We demand Government agencies to ensure that those arrested be 
released immediately and police should apologise for this undue 
harassment. Otherwise people of this country will be left with no 
option but to join hands for a nationwide stir against the arrests of 
7 RTI activists in Delhi today.

For more details please contact: Dr Sandeep Pandey (c/o Mr 
Aridamanjit Singh - 9312348900), email: ashaashram@yahoo.com

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