Union rural development minister Jairam Ramesh has called for “serious government response” and “monitoring at the highest level” in the cases of violent attacks on whistleblowers in Bihar.
He said his ministry was working on a ‘protocol’ for whistleblowers, and that would soon be applicable to the entire country.
In a letter to chief minister Nitish Kumar, Ramesh said whistleblowers and their families were facing constant torture and threats, as brought out at a public hearing conducted by RTI activists in New Delhi on April 19.
In this context, he referred to the recent murders of RTI activists Ram Kumar Thakur (Muzaffarpur) and Ram Vilas Singh (Lakhisarai) after they exposed corruption in the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Generation Scheme (MGNREGS) and other rural development programmes.
Ramesh pointed out although Thakur was killed on March 23, not a single arrest had been made in the case even after the lapse of nearly two months since the incident.
“It is essential that the guilty persons should be arrested at the earliest. I hope the government will take concrete steps to combat corruption and crime,” he said in the letter dated April 23 but released here Friday.
Ramesh also called for adequate compensation to be given to the next of kin of the slain RTI men.