NHRC notice to UP govt over alleged starvation death

Lucknow, Aug 24 (IANS) The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued a notice to the Chief Secretary of Uttar Pradesh, seeking a detailed report on the incident in which a five-year-old girl reportedly died of hunger and sickness in Agra.

The NHRC has asked the Chief Secretary to respond within four weeks on the incident and also the relief and rehabilitation measures taken for the family.

It further directed the Chief Secretary to initiate action against the officials concerned and issue instructions to all the district authorities to ensure that such incidents do not recur.

The notice pointed out that the Agra incident is a serious violation of human rights “due to gross negligence by the local administration”.

According to reports, a five-year-old girl died of hunger and sickness in Nagla Vidhichand village in Agra on Friday night.

For about a month, the girl's family had gone without work and for over one week, the family had no food. Five-year-old Sonia died on Friday night.

“I failed her. I could not get her any food. She had been growing weak. She had a fever for three days,” said Sheela Devi, her 40-year-old mother.

The family buried the child with the help of neighbours.

District Magistrate Prabhu N.Singh said, “We have taken cognisance of the matter. An investigation has been ordered into the child's death. The family buried the body, which they should not have done. A post-mortem would have ascertained the cause of death.”

On Saturday, the district administration was making arrangements to provide the family with a ration card, bank account and Ujwala gas connection. The administration also assured free treatment for her father, Pappu Singh, who is suffering from tuberculosis and free education for her two siblings. The state government is also working on a plan to provide a house for the family under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna (PMAY).

The village head, meanwhile, has promised a proper toilet for the family.

The district administration officials, on Sunday, handed over 50 kg wheat, 40 kg rice and five litres of cooking oil to the victim's family, apart from vegetables, fruits and other daily essentials.

Chief Development Officer J.Reebha said, “We have given them enough ration to keep them going for now. Meanwhile, we will make arrangements to secure them a ration card, Aadhaar card, bank account and a gas connection. We are also planning to include them under the PMAY.”

The District magistrate also said, “Our priority is to ensure a permanent means of livelihood for the family. The girl's father is not in a condition to work. Her mother, who has been working as a daily wage labourer, will be enrolled under the MGNREGA scheme. We will also try to cover them under a suitable pension scheme.”

The District Magistrate also ordered the private discom Torrent Power to ensure regular power supply to the family as the connection to the house had been snapped over non-payment of bills. He said, “The district administration will pay the outstanding dues of Rs 7,732 under its corporate social responsibility scheme.”



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