Sadakat Wadiwala, a 40-year-old RTI activist, passed away early on Wednesday morning at Sardar Patel Hospital, six days after being shot in the head by three unidentified assailants in the Gujarati town of Ankleshwar.
After Wadiwala was attacked on August 4, his wife Afsana claimed that she suspected three local builders since last month, on Wadiwala’s complaint, authorities had blocked a “illegal complex under development.”
Based on Afsana’s complaint, the Ankleshwar city police filed an FIR under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including a charge of attempted murder, and the Arms Act against builders Mohammed Shafi alias Kanani Gulam Nabi Shaikh, Azhar Riyaz alias Bhagwan, and Salim Usman Shah, builders of the Al Noor complex and residents of Bhagyoday Society.
On Wednesday, police amended the complaint to include a murder accusation and detained one of the person Afsana had mentioned. “We have arrested one of the suspects, Azhar Riyaz Shaikh, for his involvement in a conspiracy, on Wednesday. The two other suspects are still absconding. We have added murder sections in the earlier complaint,’’, according to Inspector RH Wala of the Ankleshwar Town Police.
Wadiwala’s body was transferred by Ankleshwar Town Police to Surat New Civil Hospital, where an autopsy was performed on Wednesday in the late afternoon. Wadiwala’s head was shot, and the doctors removed the bullet and gave it to the authorities.
In the early hours of August 4, three youths allegedly shot and killed Wadiwala, a tour agency owner, next to his residence in Ankleshwar’s Bhagyoday neighbourhood. Locals alerted his wife and hurried him to Sardar Patel Hospital. Afsana said in her complaint that Wadiwala was an RTI activist who strove to improve society. He took care of neighbourhood problems and asked managers to address them using RTI.
She claimed Wadiwala had gained evidence that the Al Noor shopping complex being constructed nearby was unlawful and had reported about it to the Bharuch Urban Development Authority, who then ordered the building to be blocked. According to Afsana, the Al Noor complex’s architects may have been responsible for her husband’s death.