IMPHAl July 30: “The RTI appellants are targeted by persons holding high office and those in power, we are targeted for requesting information from the government. We have decided to unite to withstand this oppression”, stated W Joykumar, convener of Transparency Initiatives Manipur, a forum of RTI activist formed recently.
Briefing media persons at its office, Joykumar said that the forum was set up after a meeting was held by RTI activists and other interested persons at Young Volunteers Organization, Wangkhei on July 17 last.
The initiative was taken after the RTI appellants after seeking information through the Act were given death threats and intimidated by concerned authorities instead of giving out information. The failure of giving out information within 125 days by the concerned SPIO is a violation of sub section (b) of section 4 of the said Act, he said.
Further, to meet the constraints faced by the applicants, the forum also intimated the World Organization against Torture, a UN body on the plight of the applicants.
“We felt the need to establish the forum to meet the intimidations and for proper transparency in the workings of the government, the applicants have been shown in the wrong light by the person in question. We have been hassled by non state actors, elected representatives and by concerned officials”, Joykumar added.
He further stated that the forum consists of Dr. Devabratta Roy Laifungbam as chairperson, S Ramhauleng as vice chairman, W Joykumar as convener,Kh Bobby as co convener and A Keshorjit as treasurer with another six executives. Drafting the initial constitution of the body is finished.
To further make improvements in the constitution, the forum invites interested persons and RTI activists to participate in the first State Level Convention on People’s Right to Information which is scheduled to be held on August 6 at Manipur Press Club.
It may be mentioned that many applicants seeking information about state and central sponsored schemes have met difficulties since the inception of the Act in 2005. Media reports of women being ostracized by local public, intimidations on the phone and physical harassment have been constantly reported.