Facing threats of social boycott and a hefty fine, a resident of village Karwari, Rajnandgaon, Bhushan Kumar Sinha has sought permission to end his life after facing mental harassment and physical assault by Gram Patel and Panchayat members. His only mistake was to seek information from Panchayat under RTI Act.
In a letter to Chhattisgarh Governor Anusuiya Uikey, Sinha urged permission for euthanasia. He brought to the cognizance of Governor that the RTI application ruffled a lot of feathers of Gram Patel Dular Sinha and Panchayat representatives, who called up a meeting and slapped a fine of Rs 10000 on him. They even threatened to seal and bulldoze his house as well as socially boycott him and his family.
Sinha further alleged as the Panchayat mounted pressure on him to pay the penalty, he sought help from Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) and Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) Dongargarh on June 16, 2020, in a written application and demanded protection. But, as it turned out, Sarpanch Patel, Deputy Sarpanch and one Anand Pandey assaulted him the very next day and threatened him of dire consequences. Feared for his life, he submitted the fine after a week at Gram Patel’s home.
He even alleged that the SDOP, who was supposed to protect him, scolded and threatened him. The Police officer asked them to withdrew the complaint and tore the newspaper cutting and termed video clips and audio clips of the meeting as fake. He was sent home after taking a cursory report. Police haven’t even conducted any investigation in the case even as around 6 months have passed since the incident and subsequent complaint.
Now, the Panchayat members are demanding Rs 2.40 lakhs from him as compensation for the expenses which they supposedly spent on the police and the Court. Panchayat members have again warned him of serious repercussions on not paying the fine by December 2020. As Sinha only survives on daily wages, he couldn’t afford such a hefty fine.
A dissident Sinha questioned, is it a crime to seek information under RTI or does it stops the village’s progress or malign the image of villagers? Since he can’t pay the hefty fine, Sinha requested for stern action on people responsible or allow him to give up his life.