Amit Jethwa – RTI activist and green crusader

Jethwa was there at service in Kutch, Saurashtra and Ahmedabad. He was one stop resource for any information regarding Gir forest and forest department’s handling of affairs there. He had amazing grip over South western Saurashtra areas, especially ecological and environment related issues.

In the lion poaching case of 2007, Jethava was among the first to blow the whistle on the mysterious deaths of lions in Gir forest. He later campaigned against shifting of lions to the Kuno Palpur national park in Madhya Pradesh. In the Aamir Khan chinkara poaching incident Jethava had earlier filed a writ petition in HC seeking quashing orders against a Bhuj court which stayed an inquiry against Khan.

Be it lion poaching, illegal mining, the famous Aamir Khan-chinkara poaching case, the appointment of information commissioners in Gujarat’s Jethava used RTI and public interest litigations (PIL) as weapons to fight for public issues. In his latest case Jethava had dragged the state government to Gujarat High Court regarding the appointment of an ombudsman or Lokayukta for Gujarat which has been pending since 2003.

He started a program called mahiti adhikar nagarik mandal (peoples group of right to information) to aware people about use of new act. Since 2006 Jethava spearheaded the RTI campaign in Khamba. Every month he and his team would organise mass awareness programmes regarding the new law. From school students to retired employees, women and small traders had been using this new tool in his taluka to get their rights. He also actively pursued the provisions of the RTI Act for addressing grievances, and conducted workshops on the procedure to file requests under RTI to prevent corrupt practices and other mal-administration.

Since 2008, he had filed a number of RTI applications probing the activities of an illegal mining lobby operating in the protected forest area just outside the Gir National Park. In mid 2010, he also filed a Public Interest Litigation in the Gujarat High Court, citing evidence found through RTI naming BJP MP Dinu Solanki and his several relatives, for involvement in the illegal mining in the Gir Forest.

Jethava had spearheaded the campaign against rising case pendency in the Gujarat Information Commission (GIC) due to lack of commissioners. It was on his petition that the HC directed the state government to complete the appointments within a stipulated time. He had also filed a PIL petition questioning the state government’s inaction over the appointment of Lokayukt.
He again came to the rescue of thousands of RTI users by filing a writ petition in the HC and made the government accept Indian Postal Order (IPO) as one of the modes of payment to deposit fees while filing of RTI applications.

With the suitable use of RTI, he had filed several court cases against illegal mining in the protected area, by which a large number of influential persons of that area, including Dinu Solanki, the BJP MP from Junagarh, were getting adversely affected. His fight against encroachment of forests and poaching had become legendary in that area.In beginning of July 2010 he filed case in gujarat high court against illegal mining naming BJP MP Dinu Solanki and his nephew Shiva solanki as the respondant. soon after this PIL he was shot dead by two motor cycle born assailant on 20th July 2010 right opposite side of gujarat high court. his father named Dinu and Shiva Solanki as the persons who gave contract for eliminate green activist.



Amit was irreplaceable. He was a force, rare in this time. He was not facebook or twitter or blogger activist, he was an activist on ground equipped with all needed tools to fight for truth. His murder is very shocking. He could do more for Gujarat. It’s a tremendous loss.The National RTI Forum of India presents the Satish Shetty RTI Gallantry award to Amit Jethwa posthumously.

Written By Lion of Gir

 

Note from the publisher

 

I feel from the depth of my experience and insight and my emotions and I want to utter a word of truth to the world that good people die soon and the evil rules. This is due to the fear which stops us to fight against evil and evil forces.

 

Amit’s sacrifice will never go in waste, we should also start thinking about his family and support them as they need our help and support.

 

by the publisher dipti prasad padhi

 

 

By : | Category : News| Sub Category : India News|Date : November 11,2011

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