Ashish Dashiya was a 24-year-old defender of the right to information who was preparing for a career in engineering. He was shot dead by Ram Nivash, sarpanch (head) of the village of Pipli in the district of Sonepat, Haryana. Although he himself had not filed any RTI applications, Ashish and a few others had taken an active stance against Nivash, who had attempted to murder another local man named Ramavtar Singh.
According to Ashish’s cousin, Akash, “Ramavtar had lodged a case against sarpanch after the latter illegally occupied some property owned by him. Another local youth Pradeep had also filed an RTI seeking the registration details of the property to help Ramavtar. We also lent our support to them, which did not go down well with the sarpanch.” Ashish and the others suffered death threats, which were reported to the authorities, but they received no protection. Ram Nivash has been arrested and is currently being tried; the police are still searching for his associates.