Skip to main content

Aadhaar, "failure" of NREGA rural jobs guarantee scheme "main reason" for 13 starvation deaths in Jharkhand

By Our Representative
On July 13, a group of activists from Jharkhand held a protest demonstration at Jharkhand Bhavan, New Delhi, to highlight a spate of recent starvation deaths and lynchings in the state. The protest demonstration follows a statement (click HERE to read) issued by a group of 52 activists from across India condemning the growing attacks on right to life in Jharkhand.
Held under the Right to Food Campaign banner, at the end of the protest, a memorandum was submitted to state resident commissioner DK Tiwari:

Text of the memorandum:

We write to you to express our deep concern over the growing attacks on right to life in Jharkhand. Over the past two years, at least 13 persons have succumbed to hunger and 13 have been lynched to death. The state government has done little to take action against those responsible for these deaths or ensure that such incidences do not occur in future.
Denial of social and economic entitlements worsened the destitution of the starvation victims’ families. In at least seven cases, Aadhaar-related failures were directly responsible for the denial of these entitlements.
Four of the victims’ families did not have a ration card. Eleven-year old Santoshi Kumari’s family was denied its Public Distribution System rice as its ration card was cancelled for not being linked with Aadhaar. You will be aware that following the March 2017 order of Jharkhand’s Chief Secretary, about 11 lakh such ration cards were cancelled in the state. Three persons starved to death due to the Aadhaar-based biometric authentication (ABBA) failure for their household members who could go to the ration shop.
Premani Kunwar’s pension was redirected to someone else’s bank account linked with her Aadhaar. 
In the month of Etwariya Devi’s death, the Common Service Point operator did not give her the pension as the internet connection was allegedly disrupted just after she authenticated through ABBA. Savitri Devi’s pension was sanctioned in 2014, but she received its first instalment only in April 2018 as her bank account was not linked with Aadhaar. 
Absence of work under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act also exacerbated the poverty of the starvation victims’ families (see the attached table for more details). Instead of taking action against functionaries whose lapses have led to these deaths and measures to improve food security in the state, Jharkhand government has denied hunger as the cause of these deaths and has absolved itself of any blame. 
Further, the State Food Minister has made a series of fallacious claims and accusations against activists who are highlighting the gross violations of right to food in Jharkhand. The proposal of establishing grain banks will fail to ensure food security as a matter of right. 
The continuation of the ill-conceived “Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) for food security” pilot in Nagri block of Ranchi is also highly condemnable. Despite people’s overwhelming preference for the earlier system of purchasing rice at the rate of Re 1 from the ration shop, this pilot is yet to be stopped.
Amongst the 13 persons lynched in Jharkhand since March 2016, ten were Muslim, two Hindu and one Adivasi. Apart from these deaths, there have been various other incidences of communal violence. Also, countless number of people are raped in the state. Most of the perpetrators of these acts of violence roam free. 
The Right to Food Campaign demands:
  • Criminal proceedings against all persons responsible for starvation deaths, lynchings and other incidences of violence. 
  • Strict implementation of all social and economic legislations and Supreme Court orders.
  •  Activating the grievance redress system provisions of the National Food Security Act.
  • Universalization of the Public Distribution System and social security pensions. 
  • Antyodaya ration card for all single women and Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups. 
  • Inclusion of subsidised pulses and edible oil in the Public Distribution System. 
  • Delinking of Aadhaar from all public services.
  • Immediate withdrawal of the “DBT for food security” pilot in Nagri in favour of the earlier system of rice distribution.
---
Click HERE for the list of persons who died, submitted along with the memorandum

Comments

TRENDING

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

"Misleading" satellite images being shared on Balakot surgical strike on Jaish camp

By Dr Vinay Kate*
With every passing day more questions are being raised about the surgical strike India did in Balakot as a response to Pulwama attacks. So far the Indian media has claimed mass casulaty of 300+ terrorists of Jaish-e-Mohammad in this surgical strike, but there is hardly any report from foreign media about the same.

Extreme repression, corporate loot, cultural genocide "characterise" India's tribal belt

Counterview Desk
As Lok Sabha polls approach, there is considerable ferment in one section of the population -- India's Adivasis, forming about 8.6 per cent of India's population. Things became particularly critical following the February 14, 2019 Supreme Court order, allegedly seeking to evict lakhs of tribals from their forest lands.

Industry in India "barely growing", export growth 0%, whither moral anchors?

Counterview Desk
In a sharp critique of the Modi government, the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A), one of world renowned economist Prof Kaushik Basu, who is Professor of Economics and Carl Marks Professor of International Studies at Cornell University, has told students at the IIM-A’s 54th Annual Convocation on March 16, 2019 that they have a “special responsibility” on their shoulders, “the responsibility to reject narrow sectarianism, uphold scientific thinking, openness to new ideas, and freedom of speech.”

Congress would win just 9 of 26 Lok Sabha seats: Gujarat Assembly segment-wise analysis

By Rajiv Shah
Even as the Congress plans its first working committee meet in Gujarat on February 28 after an almost 58 year gap, there is reason to wonder what is in store for India’s grand old party in a state which has been long been a BJP bastion – in fact ever since mid-1990s. Ahead of the then assembly polls in late 2012, talking with me, a senior Gujarat Congress leader, currently Rajya Sabha MP, frankly said he saw no reason why Congress would win.

Financial inclusion? Not micro-loans; India's poor "need" investment in health, education

By Moin Qazi*
India has grown into a global powerhouse. Its economy is soaring but the picture on the ground is still quite arid. The green shoots that you see are only a patch of its landscape. Most Indians are hapless victims of inequity. India is one country where intense poverty abounds in the shadow of immense wealth.

"Pro-corporate" Supreme Court order on FRA would further marginalize Adivasis

By VS Roy David, JP Raju*
For millions of Adivasis and other traditional forest dwellers February 13, 2019 will go down in history as the day of apocalypse. This is like the proverbial Black Friday where millions of most marginalized people of India were ordered by malicious anti-people draconian Supreme Court order depriving them the life and livelihood by evicting them from their habitats.

India, Pakistan told to eliminate nuclear weapons: N-war "would kill" 2 billion

Counterview Desk
The International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), a non-partisan federation of national medical organizations in 64 countries, representing tens of thousands of doctors, medical students, other health workers, and concerned citizens, claiming to share the common goal of creating a more peaceful and secure world freed from the threat of nuclear annihilation, has warned that “an unprecedented global catastrophe” awaits the globe against the backdrop of warmongering in India and Pakistan.

Modi wants Pak govt be held responsible for JeM terror strike: World doesn't agree

By Sandeep Pandey*
I went to participate in a candle light homage paying event at Dr BR Ambedkar's statue organised by about 200 Dalit students on Hazratganj main crossing in Lucknow on February 16, 2019 evening, two days after the dastardly terrorist act in Pulwana, Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), in which 44 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel was killed.

Women, business, law: India scores worst among all BRICS, several African nations

By Rajiv Shah
A new World Bank report ranks India 125th in its Women, Business and the Law (WBL) index among 187 economies it seeks to analyse across the globe. The report's main aim claims to be to "gain new insight into how women’s employment and entrepreneurship choices are affected by legal gender discrimination. On a scale of 100, India's score is 71.25, worse than the global average of 74.71.