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Environmental activist woman shot dead in India


Summary of story from The Hindu, August 16, 2011

A prominent environmental activist and campaigner has been shot dead outside her home in Bhopal, India.

Shehla Masood, who also ran an event management company, was a freelance journalist and environmental crusader.

She had supported the  anti-corruption campaign of Anna Hazare (an Indian social activist) and had used India’s “Right to Information” legislation to report on violations of environmental law by poachers and in the diamond mining, timber, and hospitality industries.

Last year, Ms Masood told the authorities she “feared for her life” and had complained about the matter to two successive local police chiefs.

She was also said to be planning to file a Public Interest Litigation petition against a private college. Reportedly speaking to a journalist before her death, she had said:

“It is a very powerful group of people, including local political leaders, that I will be up against once I file this PIL.”

Residents of the city of Bhopal were stunned by the apparently “professional” killing.

“I am shocked. We had planned a proactive campaign where people would have been asked to write, on a 200-foot-wide banner, about the most corrupt government departments and officers in Madhya Pradesh,” said Ajay Dube,a RTI activist and long-time associate of Ms Masood.


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