Karnataka RTI activist was killed for probing MNREGA irregularities, family alleges | Azad Times

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Azad Times News Desk.

Murthy was murdered in December 2022 in his village in Ramanagara district, and three of his relatives were arrested for allegedly killing him over a family dispute.

The relative of Karnataka-based RTI activist Murthy R, who was murdered in Ramanagar district in December 2022, has filed a complaint with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) alleging that his murder was linked to his RTI activism, and not a family dispute.

Murthy was murdered on December 22, 2022, after he was chased and assaulted with a stone in Kuruballi Doddi village in Ramanagara district. Police officials said Murthy's family members — Srinivas (50), his wife Savithamma (45) and their son Chandan alias Kariya (22) — allegedly killed Murthy over a family dispute. However, complaints raised since then have alleged he was killed for his RTI activism. The three accused were arrested by the police in Ramanagara district over the murder case.

However, Shilpa Rani, a relative of Murthy and an advocate based in Bengaluru, told TNM that Murthy was attacked twice — in July and October 2022 — over complaints raised by him in his village. "Murthy had filed police complaints on both occasions and an FIR and a counter case was registered. The police failed to protect Murthy even though he was threatened several times for raising questions about MNREGA works in his village," Shilpa Rani told TNM. "He was repeatedly asked by the same people who had attacked him to stop looking into the civil works in his village," she said.

Murthy was an RTI activist who had previously examined the details of the civil works carried out under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA). He had filed a complaint with Ramanagara Zilla Panchayat about irregularities in the works under MNREGA in the village.

In July 2022, a standoff had ensued after Murthy's complaints to the Ramanagara Zilla Panchayat led to a confrontation in the presence of panchayat officials in his village. A complaint letter filed by Murthy accused Gopal, a gram panchayat member, of instigating the assault. A few months later, in October 2022, Murthy's house was attacked with beer bottles by the same group, FIRs accessed by TNM stated. Along with Gopal, the accused in the case included Kiran, a tractor driver, Venkatesh, Thimmesh, and Prathap, who are all residents of the village. 

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