Mumbai-based RTI activist targeted for writing an FB post



Here’s what Mumbai-based RTI activist Anil Maske has to say about the FB post related complaint filed by BJP MP Kirit Somaiya against him.

These days, it’s no secret that individuals, who oppose politicians or highlight their corruption, often face a backlash. Not just the BJP, but even the Congress has been accused of misusing the police force to put pressure on activists, journalists. Such tactics are used to convey that they are the rulers, and they have their ways to handle dissent. In a coversation with us, Anil Maske said –

“No doubt, one cannot make baseless or imaginatively interpreted allegations against anyone on social networking sites. Such act would undoubtedly amount to defamation. However, these days, politicians are using the police to crush even arguments presented with sufficient evidence. To support my theory, I would like to elaborate on specific details from the complaint filed by Mumbai North East Lok Sabha constituency MP-Kirit Somaiya against me.”

 


“I have approached the CMO, state Election Commission and filed a complaint about Benami property owned by Mumbai BJP corporator Manoj Kotak from Mulund before few days. I also released some documents related to his property on Facebook as evidence to support my points. Perhaps, this has not gone down well with the local BJP unit.

Honorable Lok Sabha MP, Kirit Somaiya is often referred as BJP Maharashtra’s anti-corruption crusader. He has filed several petitions against corrupt politicians and exposed many scams. Unfortunately, he prefers to maintain silence when it comes to corrupt ministers and corporators from the BJP.

On November 13, 2017, I received a phone call from Mulund Police Station. The senior officer asked me to come and meet him as Kirit Somaiya filed a complaint against me. I met the official, and he shared the copy of Somaiya’s complaint suggesting that the MP is not happy about some of my Facebook posts that indirectly criticized him. It was related to my post about “invisible hand” helping one corrupt BJP corporator from Mulund. I did not name him in the post and just wrote that one invisible hand is helping corporator Kotak.  I fail to understand how can he co-relate himself with my post about “invisible hand”?  It can be anyone.

Now, the police official, Keshavkumar Kasar is investigating the matter and said he would call me as and when required.

My interior decoration business helps me to earn my bread and butter. Keeping track of various government schemes, projects and their implementation is my hobby. I use RTI to retrieve information about multiple projects and release the same in public domain.

I don’t feel like indulging in petty politics, but as a citizen of this country, I believe it’s my right to expose corruption. The constitution gives me the right to express my feelings, in a democratic and acceptable language of course. Not just a corporator or Lok Sabha MP, but citizens also have the right to criticize even the Prime Minister’s work.

Even the Supreme Court has warned politicians several times and has urged them not to misuse the police machinery against people who criticize the government on social networking sites.

I respect our Lok Sabha MP a lot. My father is a former corporator from the BJP. So, I don’t have anything in my mind against the party as such.  I hope the BJP keeps its pre-election promise and fights against corruption, no matter if it means acting against its own members. This is the need of the hour because India has already been ranked as Asia’s most corrupt country by Forbes.

Instead of wasting the time of police officials for petty politics, our political parties should allow them to work towards reducing the high-crime rate that Maharashtra is witnessing since the last two years. Let activists and journalists do their job, peacefully.”

Note: Jan-Satyagrah team has also emailed detailed questionnaire to MP Kirit Somaiya’s office so that he can put across his side of the story. We have not received any reply from his side as of now.

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