Jharkhand HC’s Intervention Saves An Old Man From Starvation

Source: livelaw.in

Jharkhand High Court has brought the much-need relief to octogenarian Munilal Yadav, a resident of Baghmara area in Dhanbad district, who was facing starvation for the past several days.

A division bench comprising Justices HC Mishra and Deepak Roshan on Wednesday took cognizance of the plight of old man and ordered the deputy commissioner of Dhanbad to submit a report on the issue.

Following the court’s order, the district administration swung into action and provided food grains to Munilal within hours.

Lawyer Harshvradhan Sahay, who had brought the matter before the court, said on Thursday that now the division bench has ordered for registration of a PIL in the case.

“I had seen the plight of Munilal in a television report and thought it proper to bring it to the notice of the court. Once court issued the directive, the administration initiated several measures for bringing relief to the man. Steps for his pension has also been initiated” Sahay said. He added that entire process was streamlined and benefits were delivered within hours of the order.

It may be stated here that Munilal is weak and frail due to old age and was surviving on the alms from his neighbors for a long time.

Ration snag in Jharkhand? Hunger probe team told of ailment

Source: telegraphindia.com

A three-member government committee on Sunday visited the Jharkhand village where Ramcharan Munda, 65, died last week and starvation was suspected to be the cause of death.

The team of sub-divisional magistrate Jai Prakash Jha, block development officer Priti Kisko and district civil surgeon Shivpujan Sharma spoke to Ramcharan’s family members and other villagers at Lurgumi in Latehar district, over 170km from here.

A villager told The Telegraph that the members were told that Ramcharan did not starve to death, but died of an illness.

The villager, who did not want to be identified, said Ramcharan’s daughter Sheela had told the probe team that her father had been ailing for eight days.

“He was first treated by a local doctor and then taken to a private nursing home, Bhagwati Sewa Sadan, for treatment,” the villager quoted Sheela as having said in the presence of her mother and other villagers, including the mukhiya.

“He was suffering from a liver problem. He had a swollen stomach and was not able to eat properly. The day he died, he had some food to take the medicine prescribed by the doctor. After eating, he slept. We thought we would give him the medicine when he wakes up, but he didn’t,” the villager quoted the daughter as saying.

Civil surgeon Sharma said the team spoke to seven people of the village.

“Out of the seven, four were family members. We came to know that Munda was ailing and was treated at a local nursing home,” Sharma said. “The report will be submitted to the deputy commissioner after two days, after probing some more aspects.”

State food and civil supplies minister Saryu Roy had on Saturday asked the district administration to exhume the body for post-mortem.

The civil surgeon said the body had not been exhumed yet. He did not give any reason why it was not done.

Right to food activists are not convinced that Ramcharan did not die of hunger.

“The government never accepts a case of starvation death and they have lots of ways to deny the fact,” Ranchi-based activist Balram, who uses no surname, told The Telegraph on Sunday. “I do not want to go deep into the matter. I just want the protocol of the investigation required in the case of starvation deaths to be followed properly,” he added.

Asrafi Nand Prasad, state convener of the Right to Food Campaign, said their team had also gone to the village and spoken to residents.

“They said ration was not distributed in the village for over two months. Munda was not physically strong enough to earn a living by working as a daily labourer. He also didn’t have food at home and some villagers helped him by giving him grains at times. His daughter, who lives in a nearby village, also used to help the father, the villagers said,” Prasad said.

“We fail to understand why she (the daughter) said what she did, if she did.”

Jharkhand Food Minister Orders Exhumation of 65-year-old’s Body to Probe Starvation Charge


Latehar: Jharkhand Food Minister Saryu Rai on Saturday directed the Latehar administration to exhume the body of a 65-year-old man for post-mortem in the wake of allegations that he died of starvation three days ago.

Reports published in a section of the local media have claimed that Ramcharan Munda, a resident of Lurgumi Kala village in the district, died of starvation on Wednesday after being denied ration over the past two months, a charge denied by the administration.

Talking to reporters here, Rai said he has taken a serious note of the allegation and directed the administration to follow strict protocol while carrying out an investigation into the case.

“If the reports are true and anybody is found guilty, he or she will be punished as per norms,” the minister said, adding the probe would cover all aspects in the case, including the allegation that Munda did not receive ration for two months.

He appealed to the opposition parties to refrain from politicising the issue.

Meanwhile, the sub-divisional magistrate of Mahuadand block in the district, Sudhir Kumar Das, asserted that Munda did not die of starvation and that his family gets all facilities entitled to it.

He also said the local ration dealer died three months ago, and his wife had taken charge of the public distribution system in the village.

“The administration had issued instructions to maintain offline records for distribution of ration following reports that poor internet connectivity is hampering transactions over point-of-sale machines. Munda and his family were given Rs 2,000 and 50 kg rice,” he added.

Several political leaders have reached out to Munda’s family after reports of his death surfaced in the local media.

Sources said local members of the Shibu Soren-led Jharkhand Mukti Morcha have given the family 50-kg rice and Rs 5,000 in cash.

Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) general secretary Bandhu Tirkey, who met the bereaved family on Saturday, expressed hope that the government will take necessary action in the case.

“The food minister takes such issues seriously. I expect he will take action soon,” he added.