According to reports by NDTV, an 11-year old girl named Santoshi Kumari from Jharkhand died of starvation. Her family was being denied subsidized food from the administration because the family’s Aadhaar Card wasn’t linked to their ration card.
Investigation Of The Death
The Chief Minister of Jharkhand, Raghubar Das has reportedly called for an investigation along with a report within 24-hours on the matter. He demanded to know whether the girl’s family was being denied food for months and if their ration card was cancelled because it wasn’t linked to their Aadhaar number. “Such an unfortunate incident should not be repeated in my Jharkhand, every officer must make sure,” he said expressing his anger over the issue.
The family held a ration card that entitles them to cheaper rice, wheat and sugar according to schemes planned by the government for the poor section of the country. According to allegations by a non-profit the Right to Food Campaign and NREGA Watch, that the local dealer was responsible for cancelling the ration for the family. This was done on a basis of a state government letter that gave them a three-week deadline in March to link the ration card with the Aadhaar card.
The Family’s Allegations
“My daughter died begging for rice…For four or five days, no one in the family had eaten,” said the deceased girl’s mother Koyli Devi, who is under treatment at a hospital. “She (Santoshi) would get food in the school, but because of Durga Puja holidays there was no food in the school.”
“When I learnt that a family is not getting food, I went there on September 30. I saw that the family neither had food nor a place to live,” said Tara Mani Sah, an activist who visited the Karamati village after Santoshi’s death. Further reports say that there are around 10 families out of 700 in and around that village who had their ration card cancelled by a local officer.
Cancelling Ration Card Is Illegal
According to the activists, to cancel a family’s ration card is illegal according to Supreme Court orders commencing from 2013 that say that Aadhaar cannot be mandatory to provide food benefits for poor families. “Ration cards of people with no Aadhaar card cannot be cancelled. If someone has done this, then it is wrong,” said Saryu Rai, Jharkhand’s Food and Civil Supply Minister.
Image Source: NDTV