Shehla Murder may be linked to Rio Tinto

Posted: November 18, 2011 in Children and Child Rights, Education, Geopolitics, Politics, Uncategorized, Youths and Nation

via Daily Bhaskar Source: DNA   |   Last Updated 08:37(26/09/11)
  Shehla Masood: Truth slained by the diamond merchants or mining majors…? 

Bhopal: Slain RTI activist Shehla Masood’s sister Ayesha has said her sister told a friend who met her five days before her death that “she had information that would shake the BJP government in Madhya Pradesh to its core. The Guardian newspaper has carried Ayesha’s statement with prominence.. ANI agency has quoted Guardian story from a report with London date line.

The paper reported that Shehla Masood, who was shot dead by an unidentified assailant outside her house in Bhopal on August 16, was possibly silenced because she had information that would shake the MP‘s BJP government to its core.

The paper wrote for many years, Masood had campaigned tirelessly against corruption. She turned her attention to mining conglomerate Rio Tinto’s plans to extract 37 million tonnes of diamond-bearing ore from land in one of the teak forests in the country.

Environmentalists feared that the mine project in Chhatarpur district threatened the watershed of Panna Tiger Reserve and the Shyamri river. In a letter to P Chidambaram in July, Masood wrote, “The Rio Tinto company began exploring in this eco-sensitive zone before being granted government permission. The officials who objected have been transferred from their positions.” Shehla planned to launch her own legal challenge and started to file right-to-information applications to gather evidence.

Ayesha, who has returned from the US, is now ploughing through evidences, looking for a clue and trying to make sense of what actually happened. Ayesha feared the killing is linked to those who stood to gain from the deal with Rio Tinto, the paper said.

Vinita Deshmukh, a journalist and activist who has followed the case closely, said that it was more convenient and more economical perhaps to snuff out the life of Shehla. “Money and power almost always overpower the laws of this country, especially when it comes to big projects that generally throw up lucrative commissions and kickbacks to officers and elected representatives,” Deshmukh added. Meanwhile, her family demanded the local police be taken off the investigation after they initially concluded that Shehla had shot herself, despite no weapon being found at the scene.

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