India

Social Activist Niyamat Ansari Loses Life for Exposing Brazen Embezzlement of MNREGS Funds

BeyondHeadlines News Desk

Ranchi, Jharkhand: Niyamat Ansari, a social activist involved in exposing alleged irregularities in implementing Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Schemes (MNREGS), was beaten to death at Jeruwa Village in Latehar’s Manika police station between the night of March 2-3. Fifty-three-year-old Ansari associated with former member of the MNREGS council and present member of the National Advisory Council Jean Dreze.

Niyamat Ansari Instructing MNREGS Workers

As per the first information report (FIR), about 10 to 12 people came to Ansari’s house. They dragged Ansari out and assualted him with sticks. After getting information, the Manika police took Ansari to the Latehar hospital where he succumbed to injuries.

Latehar Suprindent of Police (SP) Kuldip Dwivedi said  that a special investigation team (SIT) led by deputy superintendent of police had been constituted to investigate the case. The SP declined to give any comment on the reason of the murder. “It will be too early to jump to any conclusion. Let the SIT find out the truth behind this,” he said.

The deceased was an associate of Gram Swaraj Abhiyan looking into the various schemes under MNREGS in Manika. Together with other local activists, he uncovered many cases of fraud in MNREGS. On 20 February 2011, Niyamat and his friends exposed a case of brazen embezzlement of MNREGS funds in Rankikala Gram Panchayat. In response to this report, an FIR was lodged against main culprit Kailash Sahu, former block development officer (BDO) of Manika. More than two Rs 2 lakhs were found with the BDO and his accomplice. The BDO and his companion were arrested.

Several social organizations and human rights activists strongly condemned the incident. Condemning Niyamat’s brutal murder in strong words, the United Milli Forum (UMF), Jharkhand, said that the incident was yet another attempt to silence the voices against corruption and that all those who were working to expose the irregularities in the implementation of government act and schemes like MNREGS, RTI, ICDS, etc. Moreover, these killings further expose the nexus between contractors, administration and corrupt political leaders, the UMF said.

State general secretary of PUCL Shashi Bhushan Pathak condemned the killing and said a fact finding team of the PUCL would reach Jeruwa soon.

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