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Jharkhand ‘starvation’ death: Incident brought ‘bad name’ to area, say villagers; CM calls for model village to ‘remove blot’

CM Das told the villagers that the only way to "remove the blot" was to make it a model village by developing it, using various government schemes that are already on the ground.

By: Express News Service | Ranchi |
November 3, 2017 7:58:06 pm
 Jharkhand starvation death, Jharkhand child death, Jharkhand simdega death, Raghubar Das, Santoshi Kumari, india news, indian express Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das (Express photo by Subham Dutta)

Villagers from Karimati village in Jharkhand’s Simdega district on Friday met Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das asserting that the death of Santoshi Kumari was not due to starvation, as had been reported in the media, and that the news had brought a “bad name” to the village.

CM Das told the villagers that the only way to “remove the blot” was to make it a model village by developing it, using various government schemes that are already on the ground.

According to an official release, the delegation, which was not led by any particular organisation or an office-bearer, met the CM this afternoon.

The delegation insisted that repeated reports in the media, which claimed that the death of Santoshi Kumari was a result of starvation was false and probably a conspiracy to defame the village. The government has been maintaining that the death occurred due to malaria, although it had conceded that the family was not getting ration since February.

“The CM told the villagers that the only way to wash the stain was to develop it as a model village,” said the statement.

The CM asked them to hold village meetings every Sunday and identify the poorest among them. The government will help them with cow rearing, bee-keeping and poultry. Besides, it would also train them in making blankets, towels, sheets etc and the government itself would buy the material from the villagers, the CM told the villagers.

The villagers would not have to go to other places to find a market for their products. He also insisted that the drive to stop manufacture and sale of liquor in the villages will be launched and police officials, failing to ensure such activities are not carried out in their areas, would be punished, the CM said.

Following the outrage over Santoshi’s death, the villagers had allegedly heckled her mother and family members for “bringing bad name” to the village, after which she left her house for a brief period. But the police provided security to her and she returned to her home within hours.

The death of Santoshi Kumari had led to questions being raised over government’s policy to make PDS Aadhaar-linked. A couple of other cases in the state were also attributed to lack of ration on account of non-availability of Aadhaar link with ration card.

However, the state government has maintained all along that none of the deaths were caused due to starvation, although a review of the system has been undertaken to ensure that genuine ration card holders were not denied their quota owing to technicalities.

Jharkhand PDS Minister Saryu Roy has passed an order making it mandatory for the PDS dealers to provide the ration to the beneficiaries on the basis of any valid ID document, irrespective of whether they had their cards linked with Aadhaar or not.

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