Guwahati: When the Congress government in Meghalaya allowed bureaucrats to buy land at `1 per sq ft in 2007, Agnes Kharshiing was the lone protestor. She moved the Gauhati High Court, accusing the government of grabbing land by violating the Meghalaya Land Transfer Regulation Act, 1972. But eventually, she lost the case as the court ruled that the process was in accordance with a policy of the state government.
“The Comptroller and Auditor General of India report (for the year ending March 31, 2011) mentioned an unauthorised allotment of government land to the Civil Services Officers Housing Co-operative Society, which led me to file RTIs and then move the court with a PIL in 2012,” Kharshiing, the president of Shillong-based Civil Society Women Organisation, told Express.
In her long journey, Kharshiing has been detained quite a few times. The police have even issued chargesheets against her on various occasions, but nothing could bring down her morale. She says her fight for the rights of women and communities and against corruption will continue.
In 2010, she had exposed how several teachers were appointed fraudulently. In due course, the matter reached the court, which initiated a CBI inquiry. After the report was submitted, the court directed the government to form a high-level scrutiny panel to examine the issue.
It subsequently led to the termination of services of 200 teachers. “I had access to the answer scripts of some candidates, thanks to the RTI. I found that the original marks, awarded by the Board, were erased using white fluid. Later, when a section of the aggrieved candidates moved the Gauhati High Court, it asked the CBI to conduct a probe. The agency too had come across the discrepancies and manipulation, but did not register a case,” said the 55-year-old mother of four.
On November 8, 2013, she was arrested for obstructing an eviction drive, carried out by the Meghalaya Urban Development Authority, on the outskirts of Shillong for construction of New Shillong Township. “I stopped the illegal eviction as forged documents emerged through the RTIs that I filed. A total of 2,372 acres of land was forged. Two cases were filed against me,” she said.
Kharshiing also filed a PIL saying an MLA in office cannot hold the post of member of an autonomous district council. The PIL will be heard on October 9.
■ A recruitment scam in the education department in 2010. The services of 200 teachers were terminated. The probe is still on
■ A PDS scam in many villages where people were deprived of benefits
■ Exploitation by a village chieftain who did not allow villagers to sell their goods unless they paid him Rs 2,000
■ Irregularities in a National Self Employment Scheme company, which later got closed down. It was fleecing the public with Ponzi schemes
■ Illegal recruitment in Raj Bhavan, where two temporary workers became deputy secretaries. An FIR has been filed but the police are acting slowly
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