Monday, January 15, 2018

Seventh starvation death in Jharkhand: Budhni didn't have aadhaar, ration card; her Indira Awas house has no roof

By Our Representative
In yet another gruesome incident in Jharkhand, a 40-year-old tribal woman has reportedly died of starvation in Sewatand village of Giridih district. The woman has been identified as Budhni Soren. A widow, she is survived by her daughter Sunita, and seven-year-old son, who happened to be the only family member living with her. Budhni was not getting any ration, as leave aside Aadhaar, she did not even have a ration card.
Budhni's death, says a report from Giridih and Ranchi by Shahnawaz Akhtar in a news portal, enewsroom.in, is the seventh reported hunger-related death in Jharkhand, though regretting, the district administration has refused to term it as death due to starvation.
The Indira Awas house of Budhni
"They have maintained that Budhni died of cold on Saturday, and buried her on Sunday in Sewatand of Tisri block, which is about 100 kilometers away from the district headquarters", the report says.
Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Ravi Shankar Vidyarthi, refuting the starvation death, told the news portal, “There was food in her house. The Block Development Officer (BDO) found rice and potatoes and he has made a video of it,” said.
However, villagers strongly refuted the government official's claim, stating, foodgrains were placed in Budhni’s house after her death. Quoting villagers, the report says, this was Budhni’s second marriage. Her husband Tuddu Hemburm died a year ago. She used to collect leaves from a nearby forest and make dona-pattals to make ends meet.
The village mukhiya
Few days back, she caught cold and was unable to venture out. Hence Budhni could not earn money to buy food. A villager said, “She even used to drop in at her son’s school during lunch time, so that she could share the mid-day meal with him.”
Her step-daughter Sunita Soren claimed that she had not eaten anything for the last three days. “She had no Aadhaar card or ration card. And there was nothing at home to eat,” Sunita said.
The Tisri block in which her village is situated, says the report, has a history of middleman exploiting the poor villagers. Often they take bribe to get any government related work done. Budhni was a beneficiary of the Indira Awas scheme, yet no roof was fixed on her government allotted house.
In fact, someone had withdrawn the money from her account, Dhanmendra Yadav of Tiger Force alleged. Tiger Force is a social organization fighting corruption. Dhanmendra is a resident of Gumgi village, near Sewatand.
Daughter Sunita
The mukhiya of Thansinghdih panchayat Baleshwar Rai has also been quoted as saying that the villagers had informed him about the tribal woman dying due to starvation. “When I got the information, I came for inquiry. People told me that she had died hunger. If I would have known it earlier, I would have arranged everything,” he said.
Local MLA Rajkumar Yadav said, “I had raised Santoshi Kumari and Baijnath Mahto’s hunger death case inside the state assembly. The most important aspect in all these cases is that the administration in such cases claims that deaths havr occurred due to cold and not hunger. But they never conduct postmortem of the deceased.” No post mortem was conducted even for Budni’s body too. Tisri is also native block of the first chief minister of Jharkhand and Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (JVM) chief Babulal Marandi.
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Pix: Courtesy enewsroom.in. Click HERE for video

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