Another hunger death in Jharkhand, and again no autopsy

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Ranchi: Savitri Devi, a 58-year-old woman died of hunger at Magargatti village in Dumri block of Jharkhand’s Giridih district, which is only 220 kilometres away from Ranchi. Savitri was living with her two daughters-in-law and grandchildren, while her two sons, eked out a living as migrant labours. The family, possessed no ration card, which is mandatory for those living below poverty line to avail benefits from government schemes. However, the district administration is maintaining that Savitri died of illness and not starvation.

The family maintains that they were in a state of acute financial crisis as both of Savitri’s sons were unable to send home money. “I have recently started working for a private company in Rampur, Uttar Pradesh. The money that I am being paid is a meagre amount. It’s being used for self-sustenance. I was thus not in a position to send home money,” rued a remorseful, Hulas Mahto, the younger son of Savitri, who reached home from UP after getting the news.

Sadly enough, her elder son Hiralal, who has been working in Maharashtra’s Bhusawal district, has not been getting his salary for the past six months. Her younger daughter-in-law, who used to do odd works to earn, is pregnant and hence unable to do the needful, while the eldest used to beg a living for a family which had three elders and four kids.

After the death, daughters-in-law claimed that they had applied for the ration card but it is yet to be made. They blamed the local officials for being negligent.

Sheetal Prasad, MO of Dumri block accepted that negligent officials were unnecessarily delaying the ration card procedure. “The family had no ration card. The concerning officials who delayed the process will be punished,” said Sheetal Prasad.

Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) from Dumri Jaggarnath Mahto also visited the deceased and said, “She died because of the negligent officials. I have been informed that the lady had not had any food for the last three day.” Mahto has promised to raise the issue in the Jharkhand Assembly.

However, Deputy Development Commissioner (DDC), the acting deputy commissioner Mukund Das claimed that Savitri Devi was paralysed for the last six months and died from illness, but they failed to give details of the illness that Savitri suffered from.

“Savitri had no ration card and it is hundred percent a hunger death,” claimed Mahto while speaking to eNewsroom.

However, he added, “I had asked the officials to conduct an autopsy of the deceased, but they said that the son did not agree with it. I will raise the issue inside assembly.”

Significantly, in last one year, this is eight alleged hunger death in Jharkhand and second in Giridih. But in all the cases, an autopsy has not performed for various reasons.

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