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Gir RTI activist shot dead

 
The Telegraph
July 21 , 2010

Ahmedabad, July 20: An RTI activist who launched a campaign against illegal mining in Gir forest was shot dead by unidentified men this evening as he was coming out of his office opposite Gujarat High Court.

Police said Amit Jethwa, in his thirties, was shot from point-blank range.

Jethwa, a resident of Khambha village in Saurashtra’s Amreli district, had recently filed a public interest petition against illegal mining in the Gir forest.

Authorities had started taking action against the illegal mining lobby on the basis of the PIL. Many people with political clout were allegedly involved in the mining racket against which Jethwa had launched a successful campaign. The activist’s murder is being seen as a fallout of this campaign.

In 2006-07, when the RTI act came into force, Jethwa was the first to promote it in his home district. It was Jethwa who had filed a case against Aamir Khan for shooting a chinkara during the making of Lagaan.

He had shifted his office from Amreli to Ahmedabad a few months ago to encourage people to make use of the act.

Jethwa had formed a nature club for youths in Gir and was its chief. The organisation was involved in protecting lions and conserving forest area in the Gir region.

Two years ago, he had brought to the attention of authorities the mysterious death of lions after which an inter-state poaching gang was caught from Madhya Pradesh. The gang had killed nearly two dozen Asiatic lions in the Gir sanctuary.

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