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Attack on RTI Activist Spark Protest March in Thane

31 January 2011 No Comment

Hundreds of people came out on the streets of Thane on Sunday to protest about the attack on RTI activist Vikrant Karnik.

The protest -a first-of-its-kind citizen’s movement here in recent times-was organized by a group of civil rights activists and labour leaders. Citizens and social activists like retired judge B G Kolse-Patil also participated in the three-hour rally, which started from Ghantali and ended at Vartak Nagar.

Karnik, known for fighting for the rights of working class and urban infrastructure and environment issues, was assaulted by three persons outside his house last week. He is currently recuperating at Lok Hospital.

Karnik had informed the Thane police about a threat to his life from the Sena leader. The Sena leader was upset with Karnik as he threatened to expose his role for stealing power, he had claimed. The MSEB had registered a case against the leader’s social organization for stealing power from roadside electricity poles. Following Karnik’s complaint, a counter-complaint was lodged under the Atrocities Act by a supporter of the Sena leader.

“It is a fight between the common man and his ideals versus this powerful politician-builder, who is using his clout to violate the rights of citizens. Karnik was only doing his duty as a citizen when he tried to expose the politician. He is paying a high price for raising his voice,” said Nitin Deshpande, a city-based activist.

Rajan Raje a Labour leader, who was at the forefront of the protest march, complained about the police inaction in the case. Raje had led a delegation of activists to police commissioner SPS Yadav recently and complained about the slow progress in the investigations in the Karnik case.

Kolse-Patil said the citizens should rise against the oppressive rule and expose those politicians who are responsible for the growing incidents of illegal activities.

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