Whistle-blowers are placed in an unenviable position as they are facing many threats, including physical elimination. Hence, rights activists have decided to act in a coordinated manner to safeguard them, said O. Fernandes, co-convener of the Tamil Nadu Right to Information Campaign.
Mr. Fernandes told The Hindu on the sidelines of a workshop on “Implementing the Right to Information Act,” held here on Wednesday, that from 2005 (when the Act was passed) to 2011, at least 12 whistle-blowers across the country were killed and 140 were subjected to harassment.
The victims included two from Tamil Nadu - Ram Mohan Chandra of Thiruvannamalai and Elangovan of Kolathur. They paid with their life for having taken up public cause.
Mr. Fernandes said that those fighting against the malaise such as land grab, corruption and non-delivery of goods and services were not taken kindly by the authorities.
As they put those in power to embarrassing situation by posing inconvenient questions and exposing their misdeeds, they were not tolerated.
From the happenings it could be concluded that the nexus between politicians, goondas, police and executive had gone deeper than what appeared in sight.
Whistle blowers used to fall easy victims to machinations of those wielding power and such a situation had arisen because the activists happened to work in isolation.
Therefore, it was the endeavour of the Tamil Nadu Right to Information Campaign to establish linkage among rights activists and make them to act in a coordinated manner.
Majority of the rights activists were promoting public cause for which they were risking their lives, Mr. Fernandes said.
Experience had shown that officialdom had nothing but disdain against those who were seeking details that would put them on the dock. Instead of furnishing complete details on a given issue, officials were in the habit of only sharing incomplete or erroneous information.