Residents of Karimati village in Jharkhand’s Simdega district on Friday met Chief Minister Raghubar Das and said the recent death of a child, Santoshi Kumari, was not because of starvation, as reported in the media. They said the reports had given the village a “bad name”.
Das told the villagers that the only way to “remove the blot” was to make Karimati a model village by developing it with the help of government schemes.
According to an official release, the delegation, which was not led by any particular organisation or office-bearer, met Das in the afternoon. The delegation said that repeated reports in the media that claimed the death of Santoshi was the result of starvation were false and probably a conspiracy to defame the village.
“The CM told the villagers that the only way to wash to stain is to develop it as a model village,” said the statement.
The government has said that Santoshi died of malaria, but conceded that the family did not get rations since February.
There have been reports questioning whether Santoshi’s family had suffered because of the government’s policy of linking state benefits to Aadhaar.
Das told the villagers to hold meetings every Sunday and identify the poorest from among them. The government will help them with cow rearing, bee-keeping and poultry. It will train them in making blankets, towels, sheets, and buy these items from the villagers, he said.
Following the outrage over Santoshi’s death, some villagers had allegedly heckled her family for “bringing a bad name” to the village. A couple of other cases in the state were also attributed to the lack of rations, connected to Aadhaar linkage. The state government has, however, maintained that none of the deaths were because of starvation.
Jharkhand PDS Minister Saryu Roy has given an order making it mandatory for PDS dealers to provide rations to the beneficiaries on the basis of any valid ID.