Families of whistleblowers demand answers from parliament
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  • February 7, 2014
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“I lost my brother 10 years ago. He was killed for exposing corruption in NHAI. Leaders of every political party assured my family that a mechanism to protect whistleblowers will be put in place. It’s been 10 years. When will they pass the law? How many more Satyendra Dubeys will be killed before our MPs pass the whistleblower’s protection bill?” said Dhananjay Dubey, brother of Satyendra Dubey.

Hundreds of people gathered at India Gate to demand the passage of the Whistleblowers Protection & Grievance Redress Bills. Families of several whistleblowers who had been killed for exposing corruption and filing complaints about wrong doing in the government were present at the demonstration. Holding up photographs of people who were killed for exposing corruption- like Satyendra Dubey, Ram Thakur, Nandi Singh, Shimbu Bishnoi- protestors demanded that Parliament pass the bills. The protestors marched from India Gate to Jantar Mantar where they held a candle light vigil for the whistleblowers.

The Grievance Redress bill (The Right of Citizens to Time-bound Delivery of Goods and Services and Redressal of their Grievances Bill) and the Whistleblowers Prtoection bill have been pending in Parliament for several years. Both the bills will lapse if they are not passed in the ongoing session of Parliament.

Anjali Bhardwaj of the National Campaign for Peoples’ Right to Information (NCPRI) said that NCPRI, along with families of whistleblowers, had met with leaders of all parties- Rahul Gandhi, Arun Jaitley, Ravi Shankar Prasad, D. Raja- who had assured them that these bills were top priority and that their parties will support the passage of these bills. “All the parties assured us that given the critical nature of these bills, they will support the passage of these bills. Some key amendments are required to strengthen the bills. If the Parliament functions for even half a day, it can easily discuss and pass the bills. Both the bills have already been through Standing Committees.”

People present at the dharna pledged that they will meet every evening till the Parliament is in sessionand till the Whistleblowers Protection & Grievance Redress Bills are passed. Several people who had been attacked and harassed for raising issues of corruption spoke at the demonstration. Mukesh from Rajasthan testified about how people filing complaints and exposing corruption were attacked. Mangla Ram, of Barmer district of Rajasthan was attacked and suffered multiple fractures after he accessed information and exposed corruption about NREGA and other development schemes. Shimbu Bishnoi, of Jodhpur, was killed for exposing corruption in his panchayat and filing complaints about irregularities. Colleagues of Ram Thakur of Muzzaffarpur, Bihar, spoke about how he was shot dead while on his way home for filing complaints and exposing corruption.

The protestors issued an appeal to all MPs to allow Parliament to function and to debate these bills. Terming them as human rights legislations, people demanded that these be given priority in the Parliament.

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