Social activist Aruna Roy today expressed concern over rising cases of vigilantism, saying if the government remains silent the morale of vigilante groups get a boost which results into anarchy. “Vigilantism is an arbitrary use of power. The power is vested in the government and not in individuals, otherwise, it will result in anarchy. It is an issue to be worried about but definitely, it is not against any political party. It is in the larger interest of the country,” she said. Roy also said that in the last two years, more restrictions have been imposed on the right to freedom of expression. “If this continues, democracy will have no value. A group 56 senior bureaucrats will soon be writing to the Prime Minister on the issue,” she told reporters here.
Roy and Social activist Nikhil Dey, who along with four others was sentenced to four months in jail by a court in Ajmer in a 19-year-old case of causing hurt and trespass, were holding a press conference following the verdict. She said she was not happy with the court’s judgment will appeal in the higher court. “We had protested for 53 days in 1997, after which the then Rajasthan Chief Minister Bhairon Singh Shekhawat had amended the Panchayati Raj Act to allow access to panchayat records,” Roy said. The activists went around 73 times to access the land records from Harmada village Sarpanch Pyarelal Tak in Ajmer district. Instead, they were beaten for demanding access to the information.
The case was closed, but reopened in 2001 and judgement was delivered by presenting concocted evidence and false witnesses, she added. “About 60 RTI activists have been killed in the country. You get violence for seeking information and it could not be justified as the truth cannot be suppressed by violence,” she said.