No Aadhaar, no ration: 11-year-old Jharkhand girl had only word on her lips before she died - rice

india | Wednesday, October 18th, 2017
Team Asianet Newsable
  • A Supreme Court order of 2013, in fact, ordered that possession of an Aadhaar number cannot be made compulsory to avail of benefits under government welfare schemes
  • Yet this family was denied rations since February because their Aadhaar was not linked to the ration card
  • The 11-year-old died on September 28, to her last she kept hoping she be given a bit of rice

Right to Food campaign activist Dheeraj Kumar posted a very telling video on the plight of a mother who was forced to see her 11-year-old daughter Santoshi Kumari, die because they had no food.

They could have secured food, but sadly their ration card was not linked to Aadhaar and their local supplier denied them ration.

But the Union ministry says this was the fault of the dealer as supply of subsidised food cannot be denied to anyone. A Supreme Court order of 2013, in fact, ordered that possession of an Aadhaar number cannot be made compulsory to avail of benefits under government welfare schemes, particularly to buy subsidised food grains. However, the ration cards must be cancelled if they are not linked to Aadhaar said an order by the Jharkhand government and they have been practicing this stringently.

The 11-year-old died last month.

They had recourse to midday meals but because the schools were off due to Durga Puja festivities the girl was starving. Earlier, they used to make do with the ration allotted to the one-year-old boy in the family who gets ration from Anganwadis.

Santoshi, however, died begging for rice. She died with the words – bhaat, bhaat (rice) on her lips.

Koyli Devi her mother was interviewed by Dheeraj Kumar, he questioned her about the how she came to lose her child. Dheeraj mentioned that the family also hadn’t eaten in eight days, their ration card cancelled in February.

The women of the family scrounged for food all these months, by making dung cakes, making plates out of leaves or helping in others houses doing odd jobs and in return they used to get a bit of rice.

Dheeraj mentioned that authorities knew about the family’s condition and that they were starving, since their ration card was not verified by Aadhaar.

Now that everyone is talking about Santoshi’s death, Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das on Wednesday ordered a fresh probe into the death of the 11-year-old Simdega girl after local activists alleged that she died of starvation.

The chief minister has directed the Simdega deputy commissioner to submit the report today.

Simdega deputy commissioner Manjunath Bhajantri had informed Das that a three-member team, comprising civil surgeon and district supply officer, was constituted on October 6 to examine the case following reports of her death was carried by local media.

The team then had found out that the girl died of malaria, Bhajantri said.  Das, however, asked the deputy commissioner today to supervise and carry out another probe into the case.

Meanwhile, according to an official release, the chief minister today announced Rs 50,000 as assistance to the girl's family.

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