RTI activist shot dead near HC

RTI activist murder

Prominent wildlife and RTI activist Amit Jethva was shot dead opposite the Gujarat High Court on Tuesday evening by two motorcycle-borne men while he was coming out after meeting his lawyer. The incident occurred outside the Gujarat Bar Council office.

Jethva had filed several PILs and RTI applications, the latest being in connection with illegal mining in Gir Wildlife Sanctuary.

The incident occurred when Jethva, after meeting his lawyer Vijay Nangesh in his first-floor office at Satyamev Complex, stepped out around 8.45 pm and was getting into his vehicle parked near the complex. According to eye-witnesses, two men on a motorbike parked nearby fired at him from a close range. After being hit, Jethva ran after his assailants but succumbed to his injuries. The two men left the motorcycle and a country-made firearm on the spot and fled towards Vishwa City in the neighbourhood.

Top police officers rushed to the spot and recovered the firearm and two unused cartridges. Police suspect it could be contract killing and are questioning his lawyer.

The 33-year-old activist had filed several RTI applications based on which he would also file PILs. Key amongst them were the one for the appointment of Lokayukta, another for appointment of two more RTI commissioners and a third that questioned the promotion of a forest official.

Hailing from Amreli district's Khambha village located on the periphery of Gir Wildlife Sanctuary, Jethva, a suspended government teacher, was also the founder of Gir Nature Youth Club. After having run an aggressive campaign on several environment issues, many a time involving celebrities or top politicians, he became a member of State Wild Life Advisory Board.

In 2007 Assembly polls, he contested as an Independent from Kodinar in Junagadh district raising environment and wildlife issues.

Among the many cases Jethva had filed in lower and high courts, one was against Aamir Khan for alleged use of chinkara and later killing it for Lagaan, a film the actor also produced.

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