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
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.