India: RTI activist arbitrarily arrestedEvent
- Initial Date
- Jan 31, 2020
- Event Description
Mr. Shanmugam is a farmer by profession and is also a Right to Information (RTI) activist. He has been actively involved in various social issues in Karur district of Tamil Nadu. He also uses Right to Information (RTI) Act to seek information regarding distribution and usage of government schemes and programsin order to prevent corruption.
On 31.01.2019, Mr. Shanmugam was present at the District Collectorate in Karur to attend the ‘Grievance Day’ which is organised every week by the District Collector. Nearly 50 farmers were present for the ‘Grievance Day’ meeting along with Mr. Shanmugam. As the meeting started, Mr. Shanmugam raised the issue of non-implementation of repair works in ‘Rajavaickaal’, a canal located in Thirumanilayur in Karur district through which the farmers get irrigation for their agricultural lands. He complained that the repair works has not been carried over for a few years and due to which the farmers are suffering without proper irrigation. The District Collector Mr. Anbalagan, who presided over the meeting answered to Mr. Shanmugam’s complaint that all the repair works have been completed in the above-mentioned canal. To this, Mr. Shanmugam replied to the District Collector that as stated, the repair works have not been completed and he has submitted many written petitions regarding this to the District Collector, and yet no action has been taken. Then the District Collector Mr. Anbalagan told Mr. Shanmugam that whatever he says is the truth and that he should not talk. But Mr.Shanmugam continued to talk about his grievance on the canal repair works. Immediately, the District Collector Mr. Anbalagan ordered to arrest Mr. Shanmugam. Then Mr. Shanmugam was immediately detained by the police personnel escorting the District Collector in the premises of the District Collectorate where the ‘Grievance Day’ meeting was being held. Then later, Dr. Umapathy, an officer at the Agriculture Department who is also the Personal Assistant (Agriculture) to the District Collector, submitted a complaint at Thanthondrimalai Police Station in Karur that Mr. Shanmugam spoke harshly against the District Collector. The Inspector of Thanthondrimalai Police Station without any investigation filed a First Information Report against Mr. Shanmugam on the basis of the complaint of Dr. Umapathy under Sections 294 (b), 353, 506 (1) of the Indian Penal Code. Mr. Shanmugam was then remanded in prison. Mr. Shanmugam has been falsely charged with offences under Indian Penal Code only for raising livelihood issuesof farmers in Karur district with the District Collector in ‘Grievance Day’ meeting.
- Impact of Event
- Gender of HRD
- (Arbitrary) Arrest and Detention
- Judicial Harassment
- Rights Concerned
- Right to information
- Right to liberty and security
- Community-based HRD
- RTI activist
- Event Location
- Summary for Publications
On 31 January 2020, Mr. Shanmugam, RTI activist, was arbitrarily arrestd by the police upon order of alocal Government official after attending a public meeting in Karur District, India.