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CHRI lodges complaint with NHRC seeking probe into RTI activist son's murder

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

A human rights body Wednesday claimed that the NHRC has registered its complaint seeking an inquiry into the recent murder of 19-year-old Rajesh Sondharva, son of a well-known RTI activist, who himself was killed last year.

"The recent death of a youth in a brutal attack, a year after his father who was a prominent RTI activist was similarly killed, underlines growing concerns about the safety of rights defenders," the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) said in a statement.

Although, Rajesh was not an RTI activist, he was reportedly attacked in Rajkot, Gujarat for trying to get the bail of a man-- accused of murdering his father Nanjibhai Sondharva-- cancelled, the CHRI said.

"The CHRI is encouraged by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) registering a complaint after we pressed for a thorough inquiry into the murder of 19-year-old Rajesh Sondharva," the city-based NGO claimed.

Across India, there have been "83 reported cases of alleged murder, at least 165 cases of assault, and 180 cases of harassment or threats to RTI activists. Another six cases of death by suicide have also been linked to RTI activism," the NGO claimed.

"Attacks against RTI users continue across the country, especially in the absence of any independent observers reporting on the trial process, which often emboldens the accused. This as evident in the killing of Rajesh, who was seeking justice in his father's murder trial," it alleged.

The CHRI therefore urges the NHRC to not only register such cases, but also establish a mechanism to critically observe the progress made through their entirety, it said.

Such monitoring could ensure more rigorous investigation and accountability that was in line with its mandate to protect human rights defenders, it added.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, June 19 2019. 21:55 IST