AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal committed a gaffe at his rally here when he paid homage to four RTI activists, of whom three happen to be alive.
Kejriwal started his speech on Saturday by reading an obituary note, in which he named Amit Jethwa, Bhagu Dewani, Jaysukh Bhambhaniya and Manisha Goswami as martyrs for the cause of society.
“First of all, I want to pay homage to those who have sacrificed their lives in the last 10 years while fighting against corruption in Gujarat,” Kejriwal said, adding that he paid homage to all of them “from the bottom of my heart”.
After his four-day tour of the state to “inspect” the development as claimed by BJP’s PM candidate Narendra Modi, Kejriwal held a road show and later addressed a rally.
Of the four RTI activists he named, only Jethwa is dead. He was killed on July 20, 2010 in front of the Gujarat High Court, allegedly by mining mafia. But the other three are very much alive.
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Dewani (64), a lawyer from Porbandar district, told PTI: “I was attacked three years back, but right now my health is quite good…and my fight against corruption is on. “I am likely to join AAP very soon. Kejriwal can provide good leadership to the RTI activists like us, Dewani added.
On July 25, 2011, he was pulled out of his car in Porbandar by five-six people and stabbed in his stomach, but he survived. He had alleged minister Babu Bokhiria was responsible. He had also filed a petition in the HC, accusing Bokhiria of running illegal mines in the Porbandar district.
Jaysukh Bhambhania (42) said, “I am fortunate to be alive after an attack on August 24, 2011. I was attacked with swords and pipes followed by a failed acid attack, after I had filed an RTI application regarding construction of a restaurant and bogus license issued by RTO to bike-vendors.”
Manisha Goswami was attacked on September 21, 2011, following her RTI petition seeking details of environment clearances obtained by a private firm.
When questioned, AAP’s Gujarat convener Sukhdev Patel said, “I was not there, but I will certainly check this out.”