17 families ostracised for filing RTI

RTI poster
Shillong, July 6: A traditional village council in Meghalaya has ostracised seventeen families for filing an RTI questioning the village authorities why they were denied of their right to avail food grains supplied by the government in the village.

Immediately after receiving a complaint, deputy commissioner J Lyngdoh has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the matter, official sources said today.

The traditional village chief of Dongrum locality of Mawsynram village in East Khasi Hills district, Artowel Kharshandi convened a village council meeting on Monday and ostracised the families, the sources said.

B Rani, a villager, questioned the village authorities after he came to know of the "misdeeds" of the headman and his wife after he received a reply to his RTI application in the supply department.

Rani and 16 other families in the locality were denied 72 months of supply of food grains meant for families living below the poverty line, as per the RTI reply received by him.

It stated that the village authorities were issued the quantities of rice regularly every month since 2002 till 2010. Based on the RTI findings, an FIR was lodged in this regard.

The magisterial inquiry will be headed by Additional District Magistrate C D Lyngwa, to probe into the incident. Incidentally, the fair price shop in the village is run by the village chief's wife Asorda Marbaniang.

The food grains lifted by the shop from 2002 onwards were not distributed to the villagers on a regular basis, the FIR alleged. The affected victims from the locality had earlier met officials from the supply department here and filed a complaint.

Last year, three women had to face an order ostracising them from their Jongksha village for trying to bring to light the wrong doings in the implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme through an RTI.

The Meghalaya State Women's Commission had to intervene before the trio were bestowed their social rights.


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