Skip to main content

Forced displacement, starvation deaths, industrial pollution "rampant" in Jharkhand

By Our Representative
After successfully completing two-phases, traversing through 11 states, top civil rights network National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM)-sponsored Samvidhan Samman Yatra began its third phase this week from Jharkhand. Travelling through Odisha, West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttarakhand, it will culminate in Delhi on December 10, International Human Rights Day.
At several villages, including Malhar Toli, Ramgarh, Badakagaon, Ranchi, Nagri, Ulihatu, Khunti, Angrabari, Lachragarh and Simdega, participants listened to people’s, especially tribals’, plight -- forced displacement, starvation deaths, industrial pollution, imposition of aadhaar-based direct benefit transfer, atrocities in adivasi areas, and other human rights violations.
At Malhar Tola, Basant Kumar Hetamsaria, NAPM convener, Jharkhand, told activists how villager Chitaman Malhar had died due to lack of food security and a complete failure of social welfare schemes in the village. The village represented the true face of the state government, he said, pointing out that very few people have been covered under any social welfare schemes.
Majority of families do not have ration cards, National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) cards, pensions etc. Fact-finding organised by NAPM suggested that the death of Malhar was not due to his inability of availing social security schemes but complete failure of administration and neglect towards people by the state, he added.
Prem, Chitaman’s son, told activists that the death of his father was due to hunger. The state government tried all means to subvert the reasons. Soon after his death, officials rushed to the village and distributed ration cards to a few families. “We are facing starvation since long but no government official ever paid any attention to our village”, he added.
At Ramgarh, Santoshi, a village woman, said that they have to walk more than two kilometres to fetch water. “We don’t have basic amenities, we are deprived of food, water, and shelter. How can we even imagine about cooking gas or electricity? We don’t have resources to make toilets and the government never paid any attention to this. They may be claiming that Ramgarh is a model in Swacch Bharat but you all can see the realities we are facing.”
At Badkagaon in Hazaribagh district, which is the epicentre of intense land struggle in the coal-rich state, activists visited the families whose members were gunned down two years back. Mithilesh Dangi from Karanpura Bachao Sangharsh Samiti said their struggle is to save land and livelihood of 295 villages, which are endangered by coal mining by the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and other corporations.
Book on starvation deaths released at Ranchi
Devdas, a local activist, complained, “RSS and other Sangh organisations distribute weapons to create conflicts, but we distribute thoughts, and seek peaceful ways of struggle for our constitutional rights.”
Aloka Kujur said, since 2017, the authorities have become hyper actively, creating an atmosphere of terror. The state came down heavily on the Pathalgarhi movement, whose activists write down their constitutional rights on stone and place them at important places in villages for awareness and assertion of rights. Fr Stan Swamy added, the authorities were calling Pathalgarhi movement a criminal conspiracy. More than 3,000 adivasi youth are behind bars when they stood for their rights and development in their area.
At Khudda village of Khunti district, where the Adivasi Moolnivasi Astitva Raksha Manch and the Netarhat Firing Range Sangharsh Morcha organised public meeting, local activist Dayamani Barla said, “We have a tradition of resisting any kind of oppression and fight for our rights and dignity. Our leader Birsa Munda and others fought against the Britishers and East India Company’s repression. Taking inspiration from our leaders, we also successfully fought against Arcelor Mittal steel company.”
At Lachragarh village, where an 11-year old girl, Santoshi died of starvation because her family was denied ration after making aadhaar mandatory, Taramani, a Right to Food Campaign activist, said that she had been raising the issue of starvation deaths in the area since long time with the district administration but the government did not respond in time. Santoshi would have been alive if they would have listened to her.
At a public meeting at Satya Bharti, Ranchi, NAPM released a book edited by Hetamsaria on hunger deaths in Jharkhand in the presence of well-known activists like Fr Stan Swamy, Jean Dreze, Dayamani Barla, Aloka Kujur, Gabriele Dietrich, Suniti SR, Rajendra Ravi, BS Rawat, Meera Sanghamitra and others. Briefing the gathering, Hetamsaria said that there have been more than 61 deaths due to hunger since 2015. Among those 18 has taken place only in Jharkhand.
“Hunger deaths are an issue across the nation and not just in Jharkhand. It is a failure of the government. Almost half of the deaths happened as their ration cards were not linked to aadhaar and other technical issues. It is also a failure of society, where we see in one case that a dalit person died due to hunger”, said Prof Jean Dreze, well-known economist and social activist.

Comments

TRENDING

Missed call drive for VVPAT verification follows online plea to "pressure" poll panel

By Our Representative
Several political activists have begun a new campaign, asking concerned citizens to give a missed call on 9667655855 to “support the demand that 2019 Loksabha elections must be declared only after verification of 50% electronic voting machines (EVMs) with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) receipts.” The effort, supported by civil society networks across India, is meant to "further pressure" India's election machinery to ensure that the poll outcome becomes more transparent.

Now, top Gujarat "litterateur" close to Modi says: Godse was patriot, so was Gandhi

By Rajiv Shah
A little over a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticized BJP candidate from Bhopal Pragya Thakur for calling Nathuram Godse a patriot saying he would never forgive her for the remark, a top Sangh Parivar ideologue, known to close to Modi in Gujarat, has supported her, saying her statement should be seen “within a context.” Thakur won from Bhopal by more than 3.5 lakh votes defeating her nearest rival, veteran Congressman and ex-Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh.

Opposition refuses to legally challenge EVMs amidst plans of "back to ballot" protest

Counterview Desk
Even as opposition to the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) allegedly to rig polls is growing, a group of prominent citizens who have come together to form the EVM Virodhi Rashtriya Jan Andolan has controversially called for a national protest against EVMs on May 30, demanding future elections should be held only on ballot paper.

When a Pak scribe said Modi has 'proved' Jinnah’s two nation theory right...

By Zafar Agha*
It was around nine in the morning on May 24, 2019, a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi stormed the Lok Sabha with 300-plus MPs. It was a call from a journalist friend, Muzamal Suhrawardy, from Lahore, Pakistan. I ignored the call. We liberals had a depressing day the previous evening as the opposition to Modi and BJP collapsed. The results belied reports from the ground and even assessments made by colleagues.

It's now official: Akshay Kumar has not been conferred honorary Canadian citizenship

By Our Representative
It is now official. Super-star Akshay Kumar has not been conferred any honorary citizenship by Canadian authorities, as claimed by him ahead of the 2019 elections. In reply to a query by Roshan Shah, who is a Canadian citizen living in Waterloo, Ontario, and belongs to Ahmedabad, the country’s authorities dealing with issues related with immigration, refugees and citizenship in Canada have said that only six persons have so far been granted honorary citizenship.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad "declared support" to two-nation theory in 1937, followed by Jinnah three years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

Govt of India overestimated GDP by 2.5%, must restore reputational damage: Ex-CEA

By Rajiv Shah
Top economist Arvind Subramanian has said that changes brought about by the Government of India in data sources and methodology for estimating the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) since 2011-12 “has led to a significant overestimation of growth”. While official estimates place annual average GDP growth between 2011-12 and 2016-17 at about 7 percent, the actual growth may have been 4½ percent, ranging from 3 ½ to 5 ½ percent during the period, he adds.

If EC's credibility is under question, shouldn't one "assume" EVMs might be tampered?

Counterview Desk
Gauhar Raza, scientist, documentary film maker and poet; senior human rights activist Shabnam Hashmi of the Act Now for Harmony and Democracy (ANHAD); military veteran Major Priyadarshi Chowdhury (retd); and Sucheta De and Sandeep Saurav of the All India Students' Association (AISA), have asked “individuals, organisations and people's movements” to send their endorsement to an appeal they have prepared on Electronic Voting Machine (EVM).

Common thread of Modi, political Hinduism, nationalism? 'Contest' of ideas isn't over

By Salman Khurshid*
Losing the 2019 election and that too in a somewhat extreme manner has confronted us with unexpected challenges: Our leadership has naturally taken it very hard and to heart but with suggested options that we cannot imagine or contemplate. Hopefully the emotions will settle soon and give us the direction to pick up the pieces and march again.

Will minorities in India be 2nd class citizens? Wake up call: Be a 'communicating' Church

By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
India today is at a defining moment of her history. There is so much that has taken place in the past five years (and particularly in the last ten days)- that several citizens of the country are genuinely concerned about the future of the country! Will democracy survive? Will key elements of the Constitution be changed?