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

#MeToo moment in Hyderabad Urdu varsity? Two girl students seek action against authorities

Counterview Desk
Has the #MeToo movement reached Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MAANU)? It would seem so if a recent letter by newly-appointed chancellor Firoz Bakht Ahmed to MAANU vice-chancellor Dr Aslam Parvaiz is any indication. Seeking reinstatement of two girl victims of “sexual harassment and humiliation”, the letter specifically names head of the department of the Media Centre for Journalism, suspecting, the problem could be much deeper.
Text of the letter: It is a matter of utmost perturbation for me to receive the two representations from the girls studying in the MCJ (Media Center for Journalism) regarding their sexual and subsequently, mental and social harassment at the hands of Prof Ehtesham Ahmad Khan, the HOD, MCJ.
We do not know, how many girls have been exploited by him and preferred to be silent for saving their family’s honour; however, there are two brave girls who stood to the depraved advances and misuse by Prof Ehtesham and came up with written complai…

"Ineligible" funding of Sardar Statue in Gujarat: CAG tells Central PSUs, it's not a heritage CSR activity

By Our Representative
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, in its recent report on Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSE), has qualified public sector undertakings’ (PSUs') funding the 182-metre world’s highest Sardar Statue, currently being constructed in the Narmada river downstream of the Sardar Sarovar dam as an “ineligible” corporate social responsibility (CSR) activity.

Gujarat BJP MLAs, youth leader "incited" attack on North Indians: Cong releases video

Counterview Desk
Senior Gujarat Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil, currently in charge of Bihar and national spokesperson, All-India Congress Committee, has sent a legal notice to chief minister Vijay Rupani threatening criminal case and civil defamation suit for accusing him with "baseless statement" that he was responsible for attacks on north Indians in Gujarat.

29th "NRC-related" suicide in Assam, as Nirod Baran Das takes his life by hanging on a fan

By Our Representative
Reporting 29th case of National Register of Citizens (NRC)-driven suicide in Assam, one of India’s human rights campaign sites has said that, on October 20, tragedy struck Kharupetia town in Darrang district of Assam, when a retired school teacher and advocate Nirod Baran Das “took his life by hanging himself to a fan in his home.” The report adds, “The NRC process has so far claimed over two dozen such lives in the past four months alone.”

"Highly irregular" for PSUs to fund Sardar Statue under Corporate Social Responsibility

Counterview Desk
In a letter to I Srinivas, secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India, former secretary (economic affairs), Ministry of Finance, EAS Sarma, has raised questions on the funding of the Sardar Patel statue in South Gujarat by Central Public Sector Undertaking (CPSUs) relying on the Comptroller and Auditor General report (No 18/2018).

Murder of Tamil Nadu teenage Dalit girl: "Stoic silence" despite #MeToo movement

Counterview Desk
Brinelle D'souza, who is with the Centre for Health and Mental Health, School of Social Work, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, has prepared a strong statement to protest the brutal murder of 13-year-old Rajalakshmi. "Other than a few media reports, this gruesome killing has not caught national attention despite a very vibrant #MeToo campaign currently underway", regrets D'souza.

Post-MJ Akbar resignation: #MeToo movement and fears of backlash

By Sheshu Babu*
For the last few days, #MeToo movement has picked up momentum and many women are coming out with horrific tales of severe harassment in their past lives. They are not afraid anymore to expose famous persons including those at ministerial levels. As a senior journalist Neeraja Chowdhury opined (“An exit, a beginning”, October 18, 2018, indianexpress.com), "The #MeToo revelations are like the eruption of a volcano which was imminent, given the journey working women have covered. It was not easy to make public what they had gone through,and take on powerful men.”

Bank account frozen, raid on Amnesty office: Govt of India "treating" human rights NGOs like criminal enterprises

By Abhirr VP*
Amnesty India’s bank accounts have been frozen by the Enforcement Directorate, effectively stopping its work. Amnesty India is thus the latest target of the government’s assault on civil society in the country. The accounts of Greenpeace India were frozen earlier this month.

J&K Governor's rule: BJP's "failure" to go ahead with 44-plus strategy

By Syed Mujtaba Hussian*
Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) continues to witness cataclysm of events ever since the killing of editor-in-chief of “Rising Kashmir”, Shujaat Bukhari, followed by the BJP’s deliberated parting of ways with its coalition partner, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and imposition of Governor rule.

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.