The murder of RTI activist Shehla Masood in Bhopal found an echo in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday with a Communist Party of India (Marxist) member expressing serious concern over the killings across the country and demanding steps to protect whistleblowers.

Raising the issue during the Zero Hour, Moin-ul-Hassan said the RTI activist was killed on a day when lakhs of people in the country were out in the streets protesting corruption.

Noting that at least 10 RTI activists had been killed in various parts of the country during the last one year, Mr. Hassan sought to draw the attention of the government towards the urgent need to provide some kind of security to the whistleblowers. He said the purpose of the RTI Act would be lost if the killings continued.

Mr. Hassan said the Bhopal police was of the view that Masood's campaign for wildlife protection and conservation might have hurt certain sections, and possibly led to her killing.

While the RTI Act was meant to ensure that people had the right to information, the activists were getting killed. Masood was found shot dead inside her car in front of her house in the Koh-e-Fiza locality in Bhopal on August 16. She had gone on fast recently in support of Anna Hazare's anti-corruption campaign.

She was also involved in other issues, including wildlife conservation and the deaths of tigers in sanctuaries in the Bharatiya-Janata-Party-ruled Madhya Pradesh. The Congress has already demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the issue.