Vinayak Panduranga Baliga also known as Vidyuth Baliga was an electrical contractor and right to information(RTI) activist from Manguluru, Karnataka. On the morning of March 21, 2016 Baliga left the house where he lived with his elderly parents and two sisters for his morning walk. At around 5:30am, two unidentified men attacked him from behind with large knives, striking him more than 17 times before leaving him in a pool of blood. Hearing his cries for help his neighbours, and members of his family rushed him to hospital, where he was declared dead on arrival.
Over ten years as an RTI activist Baliga successfully obtained more than 91 RTI requests. This work was critical to stopping corruption in local government, preventing the theft of electricity by illegal building operations and defending the human rights of poorer families.
His most recent activism concerned the mismanagement of funds in Venkataramana Temple. The human rights organisation HRD-Alert India report that he received threatening phone calls from the building groups benefiting from the fund in the weeks leading up to the attack. Following an investigation, the police filed a 700-page charge-sheet on June 29, 2016 against Naresh Shenoy, a businessman, and six others, including the two assailants.
Baliga’s family and friends have campaigned vigorously for justice since the killing and continue to do so. However as of October 2019 no charges have been made. His sister Anuradha Baliga remains confident that they will achieve justice yet.