Skip to main content

Jamshedpur: Abject deprivation of Sabars, a PVTG, finds no place in poll discussions

PVGT women in Jharkhand's Sabar villages
By Siraj Dutta*
A recent visit to a few Sabar villages in Jamshedpur Lok Sabha constituency’s Ghatshila block exposed the “double-engine” claims of the BJP. Raghuvar Das does not tire harping about how the state is developing under the BJP-led state and central governments (“double engine”). One of Jharkhand’s particularly vulnerable tribal groups (PVTG), the Sabars, continues to live in hunger and extreme deprivation. Both the MLA and MP of this area are from the BJP.

Denial of ration and social security pensions

According to Supreme Court’s orders, all PVTG households are entitled to Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) ration cards on which they are to get 35 kg of free grain every month. In Jharkhand, all PVTG households are also entitled to receive social security pension of Rs 600 per month (hiked to Rs 1,000 from April 2019, as per a recent announcement of the state government).
Despite these protections, Joba and Banawali Sabar of Basadora village barely survive on rice and salt. Like others in their hamlet, they depend on the forest and the odd manual labour jobs for their livelihood. A hard day’s labour gets them Rs. 200. They neither have a ration card nor do they get the PVTG pension, as neither of them has an Aadhaar (click here for testimony).
In the four villages that were visited, at least 45 of 106 families are not enrolled in the pension scheme. Several of them also do not have Aadhaar (for testimony of such families of Basadora click here).
Malnourished child, Chhotadanga
Holudboni’s Sombari and Bhushen Sabar are denied ration and pension as they do not have aadhaar. Sombari is ill since a month. The block hospital did not conduct any test and just prescribed vitamin supplements. She continues to shiver, suffers with fever and has progressively become weaker (see testimony here).
Kishori and Malti Sabar of Holudboni are also denied their pensions as they do not have aadhaar (see testimony here). Phulmani Sabar of the same village is old and stays alone. Neither does she have a ration card nor is she enrolled for pension. Lack of Aadhaar may be a reason for this (see testimony here).

Destitution and malnutrition

The Sabar families live in dilapidated one-room houses, built by the government years ago. Most members of the community are severely undernourished. In Jharkhand, children are to get three eggs per week in Anganwadis and two eggs per week in the school mid-day meals. But children of Basadora do not get eggs in the local Anganwadi and only one egg per week in the school.
In Chhotodanga, Malti Sabar’s 23-day old daughter weighs just 1.8kg. She was kept in the baby unit at the block hospital for five days and discharged with a bottle of vitamin syrup. While medical attention from the Anganwadi worker and the doctor at the hospital may see the baby through, her condition exposes the hunger and malnourishment of the mother. The family survives hand to mouth existence.
Most of the families did not get any work in the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) in the last one year. Many also do not want to work under the programme because of the delays in payment of wages.
Destitution at Basadora

Lack of education

Hardly any adult of the visited villages is literate. According to the census 2011, only 21% of Sabar adults in Jharkhand are literate. The government seems to have made no special effort to improve the dismal rate of literacy in this community. Govardhan Sabar and Ravi Sabar of Chhotodanga dropped out of primary school as they were harassed by non-PVTG students.

Yet to get political attention

Jamshedpur goes to polls on May 12. The abject deprivation of the Sabar community finds no place in electoral discussions. Will the opposition Mahagathbandhan wake up to seek accountability from the double-engined BJP on questions of Sabars in the election season?
---
*With Jharkhand Janadikar Mahasabha

Comments

TRENDING

Young environmentalist's arrest 'sinister', even parents not told of her whereabouts

By Our Representative  The Coalition for Environmental Justice in India (CEJI), a civil society network, has said that it is “highly disturbing” that Disha Ravi, a young woman climate activist from Bengaluru was “picked up” in what is referred to as a “closely guarded operation” of the Delhi police. Disha, 21, has been remanded to police custody for five days after she was taken from Bengaluru to Delhi.

Mukesh Ambani's earnings during Covid 'can lift' 40% informal workers out of poverty

By Dr Gian Singh*  The Inequality Virus Report released by Oxfam, a non-profit organization, on January 25, 2021 on the growing inequalities in different parts of the world, sheds light on the growing economic, educational, healthcare and gender inequalities in India. The report has revealed that the wealth of billionaires has increased by 35 per cent during the lockdown period in the country.

US forensic revelation enough evidence to release Sudha Bharadwaj, others: Civicus

Counterview Desk  Civicus, a Johannesburg-based global alliance of civil society organisations and activists claiming to have presence in 175 countries with 9,000 members and working for strengthening citizen action, has sought immediate release of Sudha Bharadwaj, arrested in 2018 under the anti-terror Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and accused of having links with the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).

Golwalkar's views on tricolour, martyrs, minorities, caste as per RSS archives

By Shamsul Islam*  First time in the history of independent India, the in-charge minister of the Cultural Ministry in the current Modi government, Prahlad Singh Patel, has glorified MS Golwalkar, second supremo of the RSS and the most prominent ideologue of the RSS till date, on his birth anniversary, February 19. In a tweet he wrote : “Remembering a great thinker, scholar, and remarkable leader #MSGolwalkar on his birth anniversary. His thoughts will remain a source of inspiration & continue to guide generations.”

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

No Election Commission safeguard against electromagnetic hacking of EVM: Study

Counterview Desk  Releasing a new study simultaneously in Chennai and Kolkata in view of the forthcoming elections in Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, the Citizens’ Commission on Elections (CCE) – a civil society initiative – has regretted “lack of integrity of EVM voting”, pointing out, the Election Commission of India (ECI) does not appear to safeguard against the possibilities of ‘side-channel attacks’, i.e, hacking electronic devices through electromagnetic and other methods.

20% of FIRs against journalists in 2020 alone, targeted attacks in 2021 'too many to count'

Counterview Desk  Condemning what it calls “alarming rise in state repression and clampdown on news outlets and journalists” that “expose” the anti-people nature of the establishment, India's top civil society network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has demanded “immediate release of arrested journalists, withdrawal of arbitrary charges and protection of media persons facing threats.”

'Viability' of agricultural cooperatives vs govt proposed pro-corporate economic model

Dr Gian Singh* The farmer struggle started from Punjab against the promulgation of three agricultural ordinances by the Union government in June 2020 and the enactment of three bills by Parliament in September 2020 to replace these ordinances is unique in many respects. There is no other example of such a peaceful and democratic farmer struggle.

Whither right to food? Social security scheme allocation for woman, child 'reduced'

Counterview Desk Pointing out that women and children have been ignored in the Union Budget 2021-22, the advocacy group Right to Food Campaign (RtFC) has said that the Government of India should have taken into account the fact that even after the lockdown was lifted, distress among marginalized communities continues, with people having lower incomes and reduced food consumption.

NAPM extends support to Indian, Aussie citizen groups 'opposing' Adani ventures

#StopAdani action in Australia  Counterview Desk  The civil rights network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), extending solidarity to the global campaign by the Youth Action to Stop Adani (YAStA), held in recently in Australia and India, has said that the effort was to bring more attention to the struggle aboriginal, indigenous peoples, farmers, working class and other oppressed communities against allegedly anti-people multinational corporate conglomerates.