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Lalit Mehta worked for Jharkhand's poor (part 3)

Dreze was to join Lalit for another social audit in Daltonganj and it was in this connection that Lalit had left Chhatarpur on the night of May 13, but did not reach there the next day. “We thought he might have stayed back in Chhatarpur to complete pending work of the social audit. But a news item in a Hindi newspaper about the recovery of an unidentified body in the jungle of Kandra rang alarm bells in our head,” say Manoj Singh and Jawahar Mehta, treasurers of the Vikash Sahyog Kendra.
Singh immediately called up Lalit on his cell phone. It was answered by an unknown person who tried to convince him that he was Lalit. But when they called Lalit the second time, it was switched off. “We rushed to the Kandra police station and our doubt was confirmed,” Singh adds. But a leader like Lalit is not easily forgotten. People in Palamu have formed a society to seek justice for him, the Vikash Sahyog Kendra and Action Aid are demanding CBI inquiry into his death and Drèze conducted a public hearing in Chhatarpur where details of social audit and the proof Lalit had gathered were made public.
“Being a civil engineer he would have easily got a decent job in a good city. Lalit refused to leave Palamu and had set himself a target that one day he will ensure that government-run schemes reach the poor. He was a person of strong will and despite social pressure he married a tribal girl Ashrita Tirkey,” says Vyomkesh of Action Aid. Lalit is survived by his wife and two sons.
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Update : 14-04-2017

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