On 15 October 2016, Bhupendra Vira, a Right to Information(RTI) activist was shot dead in his home in suburban Santacruz. The assailant entered his home at around 9pm and shot him, point blank, in the head while he was watching television. He was discovered by his wife, Ranjana, who rushed him to the nearby JJ hospital where he was declared dead. He is survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter.
Vira had been a RTI activist in Kalina – a district of Mumbai – for many years. Working with the activist group Voice for Kalina he had exposed encroachers and unauthorised constructions all around the area. In the past six months alone, he was responsible for over 100 notices and demolition orders issued against illegal structures. Many of these illegal constructions were on the orders of Razzak Khan – a former Corporator(City Offical) for the Congress party. In 2010 Vira had complained to the police that his life was in danger following an attack on his son and cousin ordered by Razzak Khan in connection with his activism.
Shortly after the killing the police arrested and charged Razzak Khan and his son, Amjad, for the murder. It was revealed in evidence that Amjad had initially tried to hire an assassin to carry out the brutal crime before doing so himself on his father’s orders. Condemning the brutal murder of the ‘whistle-blower’, AAP leader Satish Jain said, “Vira very bravely took on the land mafia in Kalina which was eyeing several properties in that area.”