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Thursday, October 28, 2021

Bihar: RTI activist, who sought details on government land encroachment, shot dead

Local police said the incident occurred around 11.30 am in Harsiddhi where the activist, Bipin Agrawal (45), was shot by unidentified assailants on a motorcycle.

By: Express News Service | Patna |
Updated: September 25, 2021 7:34:50 am
RTI activist Bipin Agrawal (45) was fired upon by unidentified assailants who came riding on a motorcycle.

AN RTI activist who had filed several applications with queries on encroachment of government land, and alleged irregularities in the public distribution system, was killed Friday in Bihar’s East Champaran district.

Local police said the incident occurred around 11.30 am in Harsiddhi where the activist, Bipin Agrawal (45), was shot by unidentified assailants on a motorcycle. Agrawal succumbed to bullet injuries while being taken to hospital, they said. No arrests have been made yet in the case, police said.

Since 2008, at least 20 RTI activists have been killed in Bihar.

Agrawal’s family blamed the local “land mafia” for the killing, and demanded that the assailants be traced and a “fair investigation” launched. They said Agrawal had apprehended a threat to his life and sought police protection.

Local officials said Agrawal had filed a case in Patna High Court in 2013 on the alleged illegal encroachment of about eight acres in Harsiddhi block. Subsequently, the High Court had issued notices to 90 people to vacate the land, officials said. Police said Agrawal had been attacked earlier in 2020 at his home in Harsiddhi.

Agrawal’s father, Vijay Kumar Agrawal, told reporters: “My son used to file RTI applications on government land encroachment. The local land mafia had been targeting him. Of late, he had exposed some land encroachers in Harsiddhi market.”

He said his son had earlier approached a local court seeking police protection and apprehending the “registration of false cases against him”.

Areraj DSP Abhinav Dhiman said: “We have no knowledge of the RTI activist seeking police protection. We have been conducting raids in search of the suspects. The matter looks to be related to land encroachers.”

Nagrik Adhikar Manch convenor and leading RTI activist Shiv Prakash Rai said: “Agrawal had filed several RTIs to expose land encroachers. It is very unfortunate to see how RTI activists are being targeted in the state. In 2014, a Muzaffarpur-based organisation had given Agrawal a youth icon award for exposing land encroachers and PDS irregularities.”

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