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RTI activist Nikhil Dey and four others have been sentenced to four months in jail by a court in Ajmer after it found them guilty of "causing hurt" and "trespass" in a 19-year-old case. However, all of them were released on bail soon after. Dey, a representative of Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sanghatan (MKSS) along with other accused were convicted in a case registered under IPC sections 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) and 451 (trespass) in 1998. The other who were convicted by the court in Kishangarh town include former sarpanch of Harmada village Norti Bai and activists Ram Karan, Babulal and Chotu Lal Malakar. The case pertains to a dispute with the then sarpanch of Harmada, Pyare Lal Tak. Dey and four others had gone to the house of Tak to see some records on May 5, 1998, after they received several complaints from people that they were not getting money, they were entitled to, under the Indira Awas Yojna and other government schemes. They wanted to see the related documents after a change in the rules which allowed people to access panchayat records was made in 1997. On May 6, 1998, the activists reached Tak's house but they were allegedly threatened by the sarpanch and his family members. Following which, Tak and the activists filed cross FIRs, in which Dey and others had alleged that Tak and his family had assaulted and abused them when they had gone to meet him to get some information on May 6, 1998. While the sarpanch's family had complained that the activists allegedly assaulted them. Meanwhile, Dey said he will challenge his conviction in a higher court. "RTI activists are intimidated, harassed, threatened and beaten. Many have even been killed.
Even if this case had resulted in an acquittal, it still means the loss of time, effort and money. However, we will be challenging the conviction order in a higher court," he said.
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