Pune: A leading Right to Information (RTI) activist Satish Shetty, who exposed many land scams in Maharashtra, was killed by unidentified men while on a morning walk at Talegaon on the outskirts of this city on Wednesday.
"Around 7.15 a.m. (IST), when Shetty was on his morning walk, some unidentified people assaulted him and injured him seriously. He was rushed to a private hospital, but succumbed later," Pradeep Aphale, investigating officer of Talegaon Police Station, told IANS.
According to a colleague, 38-year-old Shetty left home around 6.45 a.m. (IST) for his usual morning walk when some people attacked him with swords near Bhandari Hospital.
Shetty, a systematic whistleblower, was credited with throwing light on several major land scams in the picturesque Talegaon-Lonavala regions, now a favourite with realtors in the state.
He shot to fame after exposing certain corrupt land deals in and around the country's first expressway, the Mumbai-Pune expressway, over a decade ago.
Condemning the incident, leading Mumbai crusader Sumaira Abdulali said this comes barely a week after the attack on another prominent Mumbai social activist Nayana Kathpalia and threats to Neera Punj of Citispace.
"This has become a trend and social activists are considered soft targets, the Government must take immediate steps to stop such attacks," Abdulali, convenor of Movement against Intimidation, Threats and Revenge against Activists (MITRA), told IANS.
MITRA has sent letters to Home Minister R R Patil listing the attacks suffered by activists in the past few years.
Abdulali was threatened and assaulted in May 2004, HS D'Lima of Citispace threatened and assaulted in March 2005, James John of AGNI was threatened and assaulted in March 2006, activist Edwin Britto was threatened and attacked in 2000 and again in June 2005, Suryakant Panchal of BEAG was assaulted in June 2004, Anandini Thakoor and Aftab Siddiqui got threats in July 2005, January 2009 and mobbed thrice, Navin Pandya of AGNI was threatened and attacked in September 2009, S Ganesan was threatened and attacked in November 2002, and Navleen Kumar was attacked in 2002.