The National RTI Forum, a social organization working in the field of Right to Information, feels honoured to announce the names of persons chosen for the RTI Gallantry awards for the year 2010. The Satish Shetty Award for Gallantry is being given posthumously to Amit Jethwa. Jethwa was an environmentalist and social worker, who was active in the Gir Forest area near Junagarh, Gujarat. In addition, he had also vigorously pursued cases related with endangered species Chinkaara against Salman Khan and Aamir Khan. Through the active use of RTI, he had exposed many cases oft illegal mining in the protected area and had filed several court cases against influential persons of that area, including Dinu Solanki, the BJP MP from Junagarh. He was shot dead on 20 July 2010, near the Gujarat High Court. A few persons have been arrested so far in the murder case but many feel that complete justice is still being awaited.
The Lalit Mehta Award for Gallantry is being given to Biswajit Mohaanty. He is the Honorary Secretary of the Wildlife Society of Orissa and is Project coordinator of Operation Kachhapa, a Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) initiative. He is also a practising chartered accountant at Cuttack. He might not be mighty influential politician, but his positive influence and effect in Orissa is truly palpable. He took to wildlife activism 15 years ago, adding RTI activism is due course.Some of his major works related to RTI include the misuse of forest vehicle case, transfer of forest rangers case, Liquor shop case, Posco case and Vedanta case.
The Shashidhar Mishra Award for Gallantry is being given to Sanjiv Chaturvedi. He is an IFS officer of 2002 batch from Haryana cadre presently posted as DFO, Hissar. His fight against corruption started in 2006, during his first posting as DFO Kurukshetra. At the next posting at Fatehabad, he got suspended having acted against someone close to the then Forest Minister. Since then, with the help of RTI, he has not only fought his own battle, where in a rare incidence the Central government unconditionally revoked his suspension but has also exposed the malafide of State Government in cases related to Saraswati Wildlife Sanctuary, Fatehabad Herbal Park and many others.
Satish Shetty, was an RTI activist from Pune (Mahgarashtra) who had exposed many land scams in Maharashtra, Shashidhar Mishra, popularly known as ‘Khabri Lal’ was an activist from Begusarai (Bihar) who exposed scams in the welfare schemes and Lalit Kumar Mehta was a the Right to Food and Right to Work campaigner in Palamau, Jharkhand. All three of them were murdered by their opponents only because of their social activism and because of their RTI related works. The National RTI Forum has started these Gallantry awards in remembrance of all such RTI Martyrs and shall be presenting these awards to such RTI activists who are showing a new path to the society through their sincere and brave use of RTI. These awards were decided by a 9-member Jury headed by Utkarsh Kumar Sinha.
Additional Information about these Award winners are given at-
Dr Nutan Thakur
National RTI Forum,