Six Dalit children die of measles in Bihar village

January 27th, 2009 - 2:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Patna, Jan 27 (IANS) At least six malnourished Dalit children have died of measles in a Bihar village during the last 10 days. Villagers blame government apathy for the deaths.The deaths occurred in Jitaura Musahar Tola in East Champaran district, about 250 km from here, creating panic among villagers as nearly a dozen more children are suffering from the disease.

All the victims belong to the Musahar community, known as the poorest of the poor in Bihar’s socio-economic structure. The community derives its name from the practice of eating rats and they usually hunt for them in paddy fields.

District civil surgeon Dharam Deo Singh told IANS on phone that a team of doctors has been rushed to the village for treating the affected children and a medical camp would be set up to prevent an outbreak of measles.

Singh said he was informed about the spread of measles and the death of the children late due to an ongoing strike of government employees, including health officials, across the state.

Villagers are angry with the local administration’s apathy that led to the death of their children.

“Our children died in the absence of medical facilities and failure of the administration to arrange treatment for them,” said Prakash Manjhi, a villager.

Hasan Manjhi, another villager, alleged that the administration hardly paid any attention to their community as they were poor Dalits.

Earlier this month, four Dalit children died of measles in Saidpur village of Vaishali district, while five Dalit children of a village in Darbhanga district died of the same disease.

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