RTI activist Shehla Masood shot dead in broad daylight on way to rally for Anna Hazare
Moneylife Digital Team 16 August 2011

The woman, who was known for her activism to protect wildlife and the environment, had complained about receiving threats from a police officer

"Gandhi: the purpose of civil resistance is provocation. Anna has succeeded in provoking the government and the opposition. Hope he wins us freedom from corruption. Meet at 2pm Boat Club Bhopal." Thus reads the latest note on the Facebook page of Shehla Masood. It was also the last noting by the Bhopal-based activist who was murdered outside her residence in broad daylight on Tuesday.

Ms Masood had just got out of her house to attend the demonstration called to support Anna Hazare when she was shot dead by unidentified attackers.

Shehla Masood, known for her initiatives under the Right to Information (RTI) Act and wildlife activism, had allegedly been harassed and threatened by police officer Pawan Shrivastava and had lodged a complaint, but no action was taken on it.

In a letter dated 19 January 2010, addressed to the director general of police in Madhya Pradesh, Ms Masood wrote, "One and a half year ago, I had filed a complaint against IP officer Pawan Shrivastava for making threatening calls to me while he was on deputation as director cultural department. I had lodged (a complaint) at Maharana Pratap Nagar Police Station in Bhopal. I had also met the then DGP of MP, Mr Puwar, on 27/02/2008. I had provided the evidences, but till now nothing has been done."  

Ms Masood was also involved in issues of good governance, police reforms, the environment, 'Save the Tiger', women's and minority rights, and transparency. She was also active on many blogs where she discussed issues like anti-corruption, women's empowerment and progress. Her recent blog updates on scratchmysoul.com are on corruption.

In her letter to the director general of police, Ms Masood had expressed her fear that Shrivastava being a powerful police officer could implicate her in false cases. Interestingly, the Madhya Pradesh home minister had announced that the state would be the first state to treat all complaints as FIRs. However, "nothing has been done on my complaint," Ms Masood wrote in her letter.

Ms Masood's letter also had a note by the inspector general of police, Bhopal, that "legal action or departmental action may be taken as deemed fit."

Reacting to the news of the killing of Ms Masood, noted environment activist Sumaira Abdul Ali, said, "Activists are murdered every now and then. Despite making repeated assurances nothing has changed. The message is clear that the government doesn't mind such things. Shehla was very active in taking up environment issues, particularly mining, which is very risky and a lot of politicians have vested interests in it. It continues to flourish. It is also very clear that we are not safe."

Describing this as a sad incident, Mumbai-based activist Mukta Shrivastava said, "We don't know who is behind her killing. She was very much part of the anti-corruption movement. Her killing has once again raised the issue of safety of activists. In Maharashtra farmers protesting silently have been killed. It's an emergency-like situation and democracy is at stake. Such acts show the reality of state repression and the sorry state of affairs."

Ms Masood is the latest victim in the list of such attacks that also claimed the lives of whistleblowers and RTI activists Satyendra Dubey, Shanmughan Manjunath and Shashidhar Mishra.

1 decade ago
those who fight will suffer. and one should ready for that.
1 decade ago
Very shocking news, She is one more victim of RTI activism. In 2010 and 2011 numbers of RTI actvist has been victimised. In gujarat well known RTI activist was shot dead in front of gujarat high court. A powerful BJP MP Dinu Solanki was behind this cowardly act but due to support of ruling party BJP's CM narendra modi, he is still out there.
1 decade ago
shame on police and govt of M.P.All of them should be sentenced to death for not taking any action against the death of an innocent activist.
1 decade ago

Cong digs Anna Hazare's dirt

1 decade ago
the murder of sheela masood made me sad and raised the question inside that how long we would be tolerating this. Has govt replied for that? I Was stunned to see masses at tihar .when Rahul gandhi talks about Kalawati congress takes it senstively but Aanna talks about corruption by which crores of kalawati houses situation can imrove . the statement given by cong. spokesperson is derogatory. and that is reply to him by masses participating all over india and tihar jail.
M Suresh
1 decade ago
It was very sad to read the news, how long this happens in this country ruled by corrupted people, O God, save this nation!
1 decade ago
Govt’s dirty tricks dept probes Team Anna record, comes up with zilch

Abdul Quadir
1 decade ago
Very dirty game led by UPA govm.
1 decade ago
The CM of Madhya Pradesh should hang his head in shame that no action was taken by the DGP on the complaint of Ms Masood and she was murdered in broad day light. This is what happens to activists in India and thats why people shudder to join such movements. Police & admn is all powerful to teach a lesson, particularly to a LADY. Jai Bharat.
V K Bhimaraja
1 decade ago
there is no safe for social activist. the govts state or center to protect them
nagesh kini
1 decade ago
Shehla the first victim for the cause of India Against Corruption, joins the list of other Whistle blowers and RTI activists.
The Joke Pal Bill contemplates sentences of upto 2 years for them and only 6months for the corrupt.
The Civil Society ought to take up with the Human Rights Commission why her complaint with the name was not acted upon and protection granted. The Police Officer should be issued a notice forthwith.
1 decade ago
shame on this govt who is breeding this type of goons
1 decade ago
very sad state of affairs of current politics
1 decade ago
Dirty tricks department of Congress led by Sonia/Manmohan Singh at its best
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