Accusing the Jharkhand government and Chief Minister Raghubar Das of concealing cases of starvation deaths in the state, the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) on Monday demanded the appointment of a judicial commission to look into the matter. AIKS claimed that after 11-year-old Santhoshi Kumari died on September 28 due to starvation, there were five more such incidents.
“We demand a judicial commission to examine the hunger-related deaths in Jharkhand so that the dispute can be settled and the Chief Minister and his cabinet be held accountable,” AIKS leader P Krishnaprasad told reporters. A delegation of AIKS that visited the family of Santoshi Kumari alleged that the Chief Secretary of the state passed an order to remove holders of ration cards not linked with Aadhaar from the list of Public Distribution System beneficiaries.
“The government has removed around 385 poor families belonging to tribal, Dalit and minority sections. They have been denied ration since April this year. This led to starvation deaths,” Krishnaprasad said. The farmers’ organisation also claimed that the state government denied people the right to food despite the Supreme Court’s order.
“It is criminal dereliction of duty and all those responsible for the tragic deaths must be booked for culpable homicide,” the AIKS leader said. The farmers organisation also demanded that the state build a house for Santoshi Kumari’s family and grant them Rs 10 lakh as compensation. Activists and family members of Kumari claimed that she died of starvation as her family’s ration card was cancelled due to non-linkage with Aadhaar. Officials, however, said the girl, a resident of Simdega district, died of malaria.