Jharkhand: Tribal Allegedly Dies Of Starvation; The Government Denies Hunger Deaths
A 40-year-old man named Chintaman Malhar allegedly died of hunger in Jharkhand’s Ramgarh district on Thursday, following two similar deaths from the Giridh and Chatra District in Jharkhand.
Videsh, son of Chintaman Malhar, claimed that the father was starving for days and had no food to eat. “In spite of having Aadhaar card, we have not been issued ration card so far,” he said, reports The New Indian Express (TNIE).
Officials, however, denied that Chintaman has died of starvation. According to the Times Of India report, Circle Officer Lalan Kumar and block development officer Manoj Kumar Gupta went to Malhar’s house and gave his son 15kg rice and a cheque of Rs 5,000 as an immediate financial assistance.
There have been several cases of deaths due to starvation reported in Jharkhand since October 2017, in cases where families were unable to receive the food grains from the Public distribution system (PDS) due to biometric mismatch, delay in enlistment and existing cardholders were denied food for failing to have seeded Aadhaar with ration cards.
Santoshi Kumari, an 11-year-old child from Jharkhand’s Simdega district, died on September 28, 2017. Baidyanath Das from Jharia in Dhanbad district died on October 21, 2017, Ruplal Marandi, a daily wage worker from Deoghar district died on October 23, 2017. Meena Mushar(45), a rag picker women died in Itkhori block of Chatra district died on May 28, 2018. Savitri Devi(65), from Mangargaddi village in Giridih district, died on June 2, 2018,
Earlier this year in March, the Chief Secretary of the state Raj Bala Verma issued a controversial order (the order has been later revoked by Food and Civil Supplies Minister Saryu Rai), directing all the district administration to remove the ration cards that were not linked with Aadhaar which went against the Supreme Court order which struck down the mandatory Aadhaar criterion for social welfare schemes.
The State government has been consistently denying the charges of deaths caused by starvation and makes post-mortem compulsory in all cases relating to starvation.
Opposition leader of Jharkhand Hemant Soren tweeted that “I sincerely believe there is no such thing as evil. However, ignorance is the true evil of our times… @roysaryu ji and @dasraghubar ji please stop giving silly excuses for the hunger deaths and own up to your mistakes..apologise to the people and start taking corrective actions”
I sincerely believe there is no such thing as evil, however, ignorance is the true evil of our times… @roysaryu ji and @dasraghubar ji please stop giving silly excuses for the hunger deaths and own up to your mistakes..apologise to the people and start taking corrective actions
— Hemant Soren (@HemantSorenJMM) June 16, 2018
Saryu Roy has dismissed all the accusations and said that “barring the case of Santoshi Kumari of Simdega district in October last year, no genuine case of an eligible candidate being deprived of ration has come to notice” reports The Indian Express.
Meanwhile, the government has decided to identify and cancel ration cards which haven’t been used for a longer time and also name and shame well off ration card holders to force them voluntarily surrender their ration cards.
“Unless privileged people do not surrender their ration cards, no space will be created for the poor who have been left out of PDS,” said Saryu Roy, reports The New Indian Express.
In a report published by the University of California titled “India State Hunger Index: Comparisons of hunger across states” in February 2009, Jharkhand ranks second in the Indian state hunger Index with 28.67% only next to Madhya Pradesh which tops the list at 30.87%.
Economically well-performing states like the Karnataka, Tamil Nadu & Maharashtra also have an alarming level of hunger. India is ranked 100th out of 119 countries in the 2017 Global Hunger Index with a score of 31.4 increasing from 23.7 in the year 2009.
Also published on Medium.