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Jharkhand: Officials rule out starvation death, say autopsy reveals foodgrains in stomach

The administration was informed about the death when some villagers began protesting, alleging that she was not getting ration for a couple of months despite being a valid card holder.

By: Express News Service | Ranchi |
December 4, 2017 2:40:19 am
jharkhand, jharkhand girl death, raghubar das, aadhaar, jharkhand starvation death, aadhar card, jharkhand girl starvation death case, jharkhand starvation death, simdega girl death Koyli Devi with daughter Gudiya. (Express Photo: Prashant Pandey)

THE DEATH of a 50-year-old woman, attributed initially to alleged non-availability of ration despite her being a valid card holder, was caused by an illness and not starvation, the district administration of Garhwa said on Sunday. The officials said that post-mortem has revealed presence of foodgrains in her stomach.

According to Garhwa district officials, Premani Kunwar, wife of late Mutur Mahato, and a resident of Korta village in Garhwa district, died on Friday afternoon.

The administration was informed about the death when some villagers began protesting, alleging that she was not getting ration for a couple of months despite being a valid card holder. It was alleged that she had been surviving on meals given by neighbours.

Garhwa Deputy Commissioner Neha Arora ordered an inquiry into the incident by Sub-Divisional Officer Pradeep Kumar. “Post-mortem has found there was foodgrain in her stomach. Therefore, death due to starvation is ruled out. Prolonged illness seems to be the cause,” said Arora.

Arora, however, said action would be taken against the PDS dealer for not giving her ration for November. “The excuse he gave was that she did not have a carry bag. This is not an acceptable. No valid card holder is to be denied ration on flimsy grounds,” she said.

Contacted, Kumar said: “The PDS dealer had, in fact, issued her a receipt (showing that she has taken the ration) on November 27. However, he did not give the ration to her on the ground that she was not carrying a ‘jhola’ (cloth sack). He has told us that the woman had agreed to return within a couple of days with the ‘jhola’, but she died. This is a flimsy excuse. Once the ration is shown to have been lifted, he must have ensured that the beneficiary got it.”

Kumar categorically said Premani got ration regularly till October. “She was also getting her (widow) pension,” he said.

Officials also said Premani was virtually alone and did not have anybody to look after her. “Her husband died a few years ago and her only son is young,” said Kumar.

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