Anjali Bhardwaj on Thursday alleged that select few RTI activists had been invited for a convention organised by the central government, and to mark this protest well-known activist Aruna Roy would boycott the programme.
Aruna Roy, who has been invited, said at a press conference on Thursday that the Intelligence Bureau had run background checks on activists and many had not been invited for security reasons.
“It is severely restricted, only seven have been invited. The contribution of civil society has been appreciated by everyone,” she said. “We do not understand why this intelligence check was necessary. There have never been such measures before.”
“The Chief Information Commissioner reportedly wanted to invite more activists, but government did not allow it. This is the government’s interference in the CIC,” the 69-year old activist alleged.
Roy and five others invited for the PM’s session have said they would boycott it in solidarity with those who did not receive an invitation.
Several prominent activists have threatened to boycott Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s inaugural address on Friday at the annual RTI convention. The convention, which was originally scheduled from 12-16 October to enable Modi to attend, has now been reduced to just one-and-a-half days after it became clear that prime minister would not be attending.
According to the new schedule, there will be no valedictory function. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will address the inaugural function.
Anjali, herself an RTI activist, told news agency ANI that she had not been invited for the convention. She said, “About eight people from civil society have been invited; everybody else who has been attending these conventions for 10 years hasn’t received the invite.”
Anjali said that people who have important role in and protecting RTI were being left out of process. “It’s important to send across the message that people have to be given space to voice out their thoughts. People are being left out of a convention,” she said.