Unidentified assailants killed a woman Right to Information (RTI) activist in front of her residence here around 11am on Tuesday. She was scheduled to attend a signature campaign in support of Anna Hazare's agitation a couple of hours later.
Shehla Masood, 39, was shot in the neck point blank as she was getting into her car parked in front of her house in the upscale Koh-e-Fiza locality in Old Bhopal. She died on the spot, the police said.
“A single shot was fired at her. Investigations are on to ascertain the motive and the identity of the killers,” said Shailendra Srivastava, inspector general of police, Bhopal. A hunt is on to nab the assailants, he added.Masood had allegedly lodged a complaint of harassment against a senior police officer three years ago. However, she had not demanded any security, officials said.
"Someone might have been nursing a grudge as she had been exposing corruption through RTI applications,” said a police officer on condition of anonymity. “The murder did not seem to be directly linked to her involvement with the Hazare campaign,” he added.
Masood's aunt Rabad Zaidi sensed something was wrong when she didn't hear the car leave even 10 minutes after Masood had stepped out. Zaidi and other relatives later found her lying in the car and informed the police.
Masood was an RTI campaigner since 2009, seeking to bring out information related to wildlife and bureaucracy.
RTI activist Ajay Dubey said, “People for whom these campaigns are carried out should come out openly to protest such gruesome acts," he said.
The National Campaign for People's Right to Information (NCPRI) expressed shock. “Her murder demonstrates another instance of the danger that all RTI users face from vested interests that are allowed to operate with impunity,” the NCPRI statement said.