India

RTI Activist’s Murder: The Other Side of the Story

CHENNAI – Brutal murder of a crusader against land grabbing, Bhuvaneswaran, in a broad daylight has created flutter in the city and the concerns over the safety of RTI activists once again. Bhuvaneswaran, 37 year old, who was instrumental in regaining grabbed land for a few people in Morai near Avadi by confronting land mafia, was brutally murdered on Tuesday, 10 January. He was also fighting to get back his land usurped by land sharks. There were threats to him, but police failed to provide protection.

Bhuvaneswaran was functioning as the secretary of the association formed by the victims of land mafia in Morai village, near Avadi, an important suburb of Chennai, where thousands of people had purchased land.

Bhuvaneswaran’s struggle was started in response to the continual harassment by few anti-social elements that had occupied the land illegally and claimed that the land belonged to them.  Furthermore, that land-mafia went ahead and started reselling the lands of legitimate owners claiming that the properties belong to manors (Zameendar).

Even-though the Zameendari rights were abolished in 1948 itself, residents and owners of the lands are being harassed by the land-mafia to pay market rates again and re-occupy their lands. No action was taken despite several complaints being registered in the local Police station and Suburban police commissioner.

It is said that about 167 acres of land was illegally occupied by these anti-social elements.

Bhuvaneswaran with the help of different organizations continuously fought to reclaim the occupied lands. He successfully used the Right to Information Act to collect evidences against the illegal occupiers.

He had filed a case with these evidences in the court and had won the case too and got back 30 acres of illegally occupied land and distributed it to the rightful land owners of the region; but he could not reclaim the 10 acre land that belongs to him in the same village.

In this course of struggle, he continuously received death threats, asking him to withdraw the case, even several attempts were made to murder him. Despite of filing complaints in this regard, the local Police station did not take any action to protect him, say the villagers.

Now those anti-social elements have succeeded in removing obstacle on their way, on Tuesday, 10 January2012, he was waylaid while travelling on a motor bike with his three year old daughter, and brutally murdered.

Bhuvaneswaran, who also served as the treasurer of the North Chennai unit of the Front for the protection of the rights of differently-abled people, is survived by his wife, and two daughters aged 5 and 3.

Land mafias illegally hold occupied land throughout the state with the support from either the ruling party or the main opposition party, allege the victims of brutality.

“This incident has again proved that the Dalit leaders have no security of life here. Authorities should take serious note of this and Police should book the perpetrators” says the prominent human rights’ activist Prof. A Marx.

It is unfortunate that section of mainstream media depicted his murder as the outcome of business rivalry in real estate, opine civil right activists.

Courtesy: Newzfirst

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