An RTI activist and a fellow villager were shot dead at Sikandara block in Jamui on Sunday evening following a recent tiff with some villagers over the selection of an Anganwadi sevika. This is the second killing of an RTI activist in a fortnight after the murder of Motihari RTI activist Rajendra Singh.
According to the police, the incident took place at Bicchwe Mod near Sikandara when RTI activist Valmiki Yadav (35) and a fellow villager Dharmendra Yadav (30) were returning to their village on a bike when some unidentified assailants fired at them from close range. While Valmiki died on the spot, Dharmendra died on way to a primary healthcare centre. Locals said Valmiki Yadav, who used to file RTIs for panchayat-level programmes, had recently lodged a complaint against “selection” of an Anganwadi sevika ahead of his “more qualified wife”.
Sikandara police station in-charge Pramod Kumar said, “We have been talking to some people including local mukhiya to know the possible reasons behind the killing which looks planned. The killers probably knew the timing of Valmiki’s return to home. Dharmendra could have been targetted because he supported Valmiki. We have lodged a case.”
Since 2008, 14 RTI activists have been killed in Bihar. In 2018 alone, four RTI activists – Rahul Jha from Saharsa, Jayant Kumar from Vaishali, Rajendra Singh from Motihari and now Valmiki Yadav from Jamui have been killed. In Rajendra Kumar’s case, Motihari police have arrested a sharp-shooter Rana Singh while another accused former mukhiya Subhash Yadav has surrendered. Four people have been arrested in Jayant Kumar’s case.
“It is only in 2011 Lakhisarai case, the local court has sentenced four persons to life. Rest cases are in the trial stage. We have long been demanding a speedy trial in RTI activists’ murder case from the government without success”, said Nagrik Adhikar Manch convenor and leading Bihar RTI activist Shiv Prakash Rai.