The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on August 23 issued a notice to the Uttar Pradesh government over the death of a five-year-old girl due to starvation in Agra.
A five-year-old girl, Sonia, reportedly died of hunger in Nagla Vidhichand village of Barauli Aheer block in Agra on Friday.
"A five-year-old innocent girl has apparently died due to starvation and illness while a number of social welfare schemes run by the central and the state government do exist," the NHRC observed.
The commission took suo-motu cognisance of a media report that showed that the girl allegedly died due to starvation and illness as the family was unable to provide her with good food and medical attention.
The commission has issued a notice to the chief secretary of Uttar Pradesh demanding a detailed report within four weeks. The report should also include details about the relief and rehabilitation provided to the family by the administration and the action taken against the officials.
The chief secretary is also expected to issue directions to all the authorities to ensure that such incidents of negligence do not recur in future, the NHRC said.
"The state government has made several statements that they are committed to ensure Right to Food, Shelter and Livelihood for the poor people and have been working on issues relating to labourers and labour laws but this heart wrenching incident shows a different picture," the commission said.
"A poor girl has lost her life, the breadwinner of the family is suffering from tuberculosis and is bedridden. The family is not only financially poor but also belongs to the scheduled caste for which special schemes have been announced by the central and state governments," it added.
Terming it as "a serious issue of violation of human rights due to gross negligence by the local administration", the commission said it is for the local public servants to honestly implement the schemes, "so that the poor and needy can avail the benefits which, apparently was not done in this case".
As per reports, the girl was living with her family at Nagla Vidhichand village in Agra's Baroli Ahir block. The family was unemployed for over a month and in recent weeks was without food.
Reportedly, many families in the locality did not possess a ration card. The girl had become weak and was down with fever for three days. She could not bear the pain and died on Friday night.
"The local authorities reportedly did nothing to help the family like securing food in the lockdown-induced crisis. The District Administration has said it will find out where things went wrong and they have taken cognisance of the matter and an investigation has been ordered into the child''s death," the NHRC said.
Although the Agra administration claims that the child died of diarrhea and fever, and not of hunger, it has now provided 100 kilograms of ration to the deceased girl's family.