Jean Dreze, activists protest in Bihar -Amarnath Tewary

-The Hindu

Allege harassment of those who questioned graft related to the MGNREGA scheme

Noted economist and activist Jean Dreze and Right to Information activist Nikhil Dey, along with thousands of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) activists, on Friday protested against the “harassment and intimidation” of those who have raised questions of corruption related to the MGNREGA scheme in the Muzaffarpur district of north Bihar.

The protest march led by Mr. Dreze, Mr. Dey, Rajendran Narayanan and Sanjay Sahni began at the local Jubba Sahni park in Muzaffarpur and ended at the District Collectorate. Later, they submitted a letter to District Magistrate Mohd. Sohail and Inspector General of Police (IGP) Sunil Kumar, demanding a fair and transparent probe into the allegations. They also urged officials to ensure that whistleblowers are protected.

“We also put our demand for work under the MGNREGA be met within the stipulated 15 days time, and a bi-monthly dialogue with officials be organised to address grievances,” Mr. Narayanan told The Hindu over phone.

‘Fabricated cases’

Earlier, several allegedly false and fabricated cases against MGNREGA activist Sanjay Sahni and some members of his group, the Samaj Parivartan Shakti Sanghthan (SPSS), were lodged at different police stations in Muzaffarpur, for raising questions over corruption in implementation of the MGNREGA scheme. The activists had submitted a fact-finding report to the Bihar Director General of Police (DGP) in June 2017.

“But more false cases were lodged against them. More recently, an FIR was lodged against them on September 6 at the Maniyari police station this year,” said Mr. Narayanan.
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The Hindu, 14 December, 2018,

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