Right to Information – Master key to good governance

RTI Act 2005:: ONE YEAR :: Now, what next?

Posted by rtiact2005 on October 15, 2006

—– Forwarded Message —-
From: Manish Sisodia msisodia@gmail. com

Dear Friends!Most of the things have already been reported/ discussed about the protest in front of President of India at Vigyan Bhawan, Delhi. As we all know the idea behind this protest was to pass a message to The President that ‘despite having such a good RTI Act, the country is loosing hope to get a transparent and accountable governance, just because of the existing Information Commissioners. ‘

And the message was PASSED SUCCESSFULLY, in a democratic and peaceful manner. President took note, responded and announced his offer of appointment and discussion with the protestors. He received the copy of memorandum.

We were concerned about the dignity of The President. And considering it, we started our protest right after President took the chair after his speech and Mr O P Kejriwal was giving vote of thanks. As we noticed, President initially asked Mr Habibullah, sitting on His left, about the protest, but soon (probably not satisfied with the answer) He turned to Mr Anna Hazare, sitting on His Right. After Mr O P Kejriwal finished with his Vote of Thanks(7-8 minutes ), President called Mr A N Tiwari and asked him to announce his desire to meet us soon, after seeking appointment through email. In the mean time a memorandum was demanded by the President Staff. Our request to read it in the same house was turned down by the security staff. And Finally He left at 8.20 pm.

What happened after that was not all unexpected. Six of us were detained as we came out of the Vigyan Bhawan. For more than 45 minutes we were interrogated by senior security officers. Then, at 9.30 pm, we were taken over to Tughlak Road Police Station. We were told that ‘our liberties were being curtailed’. Lots of teams appeared one after other and interrogated each of us. We knew that we have done nothing wrong, but the way we were being questioned was as if we have made some serious offence. Any way. We answered with patience. Surprisingly police teams reached at our homes after midnight and interrogated our families too. Finally at 3.30 we all were allowed to go home.

When we came out we saw Mrs Madhu Bhaduri, Sandeep Pandey, Abhinandan, Pabitro and many other RTI activists were also present there waiting for us outside.
This is the story. I would like to add that,  though, few of us prepared for this banner demonstration till last moment, but once it started in the hall, the entire RTI Biradari was active. Specially during the demonstration, which lasted more than 10 minutes, all our friends, who have come to attend the conference from across the country(Karnataka, Gujrat, MP, Chattisgarh, Punjab, Maharashtra, UP and others), participated in it. Someone stood up to hold the banner and someone took the job to distribute the handbills. Within a minute, everyone was active on it’s own.

Now, what next?

Of course, we should try to meet the President as soon as possible. But should we also make a point that why we were detained for so long? Why we and our families were interrogated like this? These are certainly important issues, and civil society from all over the world has criticized it, but should we put our energies into such matters or not? We have to decide where to focus. I think RTI Biradari should decide it collectively.


Manish Sisodia


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