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Taking a serious note of the murder of RTI activist Satish Shetty in 2010, the Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission has directed the state government to give a compensation of Rs 15 lakh to his family within four weeks.
The commission also ordered departmental inquiry against the concerned superintendent of police, sub-divisional police officer and others for not taking action on Shetty's application seeking police protection.
Shetty, who had exposed several land-related scams through Right To Information Act, was brutally murdered at Talegaon Dabhade in Pune district on January 13, 2010.
In November 2009, Shetty had submitted an application to the superintendent of police, Pune rural, claiming there was a threat to his life after he unearthed a scam, and demanding protection.
"This is yet another incident of apathy/negligence and possible partisan attitude on the part of the concerned police which has resulted in the loss of another RTI activist," MSHRC Chairperson S R Bannumath and member M M Sayyed said.
"...The death of Satish Shetty was because of serious lapses and negligence on part of the police officers," the commission said in an order passed on March 27.
"It is just and proper to award interim compensation of Rs 15 lakh to the legal heirs of the victim within four weeks," the commission said, adjourning further hearing to the next month.
Human Rights Association for Protection, an NGO, had approached the commission seeking a direction to the police to strictly follow a Government Resolution (GR) which says that if an RTI activist demands police protection, it should be given immediately.
The commission directed the state Home Department to instruct all police officials to follow the GR strictly.
"In spite of a government resolution issued in 2000, no action was taken on Shetty's representation and on January 13, 2010 Shetty was brutally murdered," the commission noted.
"It is apparent that various police officials including those of the rank of SDPO and SP slept over the application of Shetty," it remarked.