Jharkhand officials under scanner for starvation death of tribals

October 6th, 2008 - 8:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Ranchi, Oct 6 (IANS) Advisors to the commissioner appointed by the Supreme Court to look into the tribal deaths in Jharkhand have found that the deaths occurred due to starvation and not food poisoning as claimed by officials of the district administration, against whom action is likely. Last week eight people belonging to Birhor tribe died in Hindiakala village of Chatra district, some 190 km from Ranchi.

Officials of the district administration cited food poisoning as the reason for the deaths and said the tribals had consumed wild roots.

“It is not a case of food poisoning as cited by the district administration officials. The tribals died due to starvation,” said the advisor of the commissioner appointed by the Supreme Court.

He said: “This is criminal negligence and a police complaint will be lodged against the officials.”

The team found that the Birhor tribe’s people did not possess Antyodaya (Scheme of providing ration to the poorest section of the society) card.

The team found that the ration cards were with the dealers of the Public Distribution System (PDS) outlets. It also found that the Birhor tribesmen were not provided food grain under any government scheme since 1998.

Birhor is one of the nine primitive tribes of Jharkhand whose population is declining fast.

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