New Delhi: Slamming the move to leave out a large number of information activists from the inauguration of the annual RTI convention citing security concerns, seven invited activists have decided to boycott the session, which is to be addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
National Campaign for the People's Right to Information (NCPRI), of which the seven activists are members, today adopted the boycott resolution and also said it "will use the RTI to probe the sequence of events" behind the decision to not invite their fellow activists to the inaugural of the 10th annual convention of the Central Information Commission.
"NCPRI is deeply distressed to learn that the National RTI convention has become an exclusive affair which is being restricted by the central government under frivolous "security concerns".
"We have resolved that the members of the NCPRI who have received invitations will not attend the inaugural session. We will use the RTI to probe the sequence of events and will fight to establish the independence and pro-people democratic mandate of the CIC," the civil society group said in a resolution passed today.
Social activist Aruna Roy, one of the invitees and a signatory to the resolution, alleged that this was happening under the "control" not "influence" of the government.
She claimed that the Intelligence Bureau (IB) conducted background checks and verification of RTI activists across the country and many of them were sent e-mails saying they were not being invited to the convention due to "security reasons".
"It is an indication of government wanting to take over the decision-making process to an extent it can. In the history of this government in one-and-a-half years, consultation has stopped and any time access to authority or free governance s so restricted," Roy said at a press meet.
The two-day convention, which is being organised on the theme, 'RTI: Outlook for the future - Trust through Transparency', will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi tomorrow.
Apart from Roy, the signatories to the boycott resolution are Nikhil Dey, Anjali Bharadwaj, Amrita Johry, Venkatesh Nayak, Lokesh Batra and Shekhar Singh.
Noted RTI activist Subhash Agarwal, who also attended the press meet, said he is not a signatory to the resolution but shares the "anguish and disappointment" of the activists on being "insulted" and denied access to the session in such a manner.
However, he maintained that he will boycott all the sessions other than the inaugural.