Shehla Masood

Shehla Masood was an Indian environmentalist, wildlife and RTI activist. She was shot dead around 11:19 AM on August 16, 2011 by three persons who were hired by a local woman interior designer in front of her house in Bhopal while she was sitting in her car and was about to leave.Masood was constantly living under threat, as revealed by her in an interview before she was shot dead. Shehla Masood was aged 38 years old, unmarried, born into a Muslim family.

Masood was an activist working primarily on wildlife conservation, and also supported other causes like good governance, RTI Act, Police reforms, environment, women's rights & issues and transparency. She sat on a fast in support of Anna Hazare's India Against Corruption campaign. She was actively involved in raising issues related to the deaths of tigers in the various sanctuaries of Madhya Pradesh. Shehla herself was working for the Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Trust, organizing events for them from Srinagar to Kolkata to Delhi. She was about to leave for Boat Club in Bhopal to join the anti-government protest to bring the Jan Lokpal Bill when she was killed.She co-founded RTI Anonymous, a service for whistle blowers for filing anonymous Right to Information (RTI) Applications with Indian Government departments without getting victimized, with her friends just a few days before her death. Shehla Masood was posthumously awarded the award for her relentless effort under the category, 'Crusade Against Corruption'.

RTI activists are harassed and sometimes killed by corrupt officials protecting their own interests. In 2010 alone at least ten Right to Information activists were killed. Several of them, like Masood, were also environmental activists against illegal mining and the poaching of tigers. Indian police claim “vested interests” connected to these businesses are responsible for Masood’s murder.

Where are we heading? God save my country !!


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