The dead will not seek power

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Photo: Indian Express Archive

Vishram Laxman Dodiya, 55, SURAT, GUJARAT

MURDERED FOR: Refusing to withdraw his RTI against a power distribution company, asking about illegal connections, rampant corruption and dubious billing

Kunal Majumder

GUJARAT MUST have something in its soil that inspires larger-than-life aspirations. Since he was a teenager, Vishram Laxman Dodiya sold books and water pouches on the footpath in Surat. With this meagre income, he educated three children. Then, 10 years ago, something happened to awaken his curiosity about the world. At first, Dodiya only protested against local gambling dens and bad roads. Then a neighbour got an electricity connection through false documents. When Dodiya went to the power distribution company to find out how, he was shooed away. This was when he filed his first RTI. The company officials tried to persuade Dodiya to withdraw the RTI. He refused. His son Girish remembers 11 February 2010. The local police officer called saying the company officials wanted to meet him. Dodiya ate dinner and left. A few hours later, his mutilated body was found on a street near his home. Eyewitnesses told Girish that four young men had attacked his father with swords. The police arrested three. The father of one is an employee at the same power company.

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Kunal Majumder writes on politics, foreign affairs and books. Since he began his journalistic career in 2005, Kunal has reported on a wide range of topics including design, fashion, business, politics, environment, human rights and the Maoist conflict. In 2011, he won the UNFPA-Laadli Media Award for Gender Sensitivity for Best Feature report and the Statesman Award for Rural Reporting. Kunal worked with Tehelka newsmagazine from September 2009 to November 2012 as a reporter. In Novemeber 2012, he was designated as Assistant Editor in-charge for web operation. He was responsible for the revamp of Tehelka website and associated online platforms like Tehelka Radio, Tehelka TV and social media. He quit Tehelka in December 2013.

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