Officials of the Garhwa district administration in Jharkhand on Sunday said the autopsy of a 65-year-old woman, who allegedly died of starvation last week, revealed foodgrains in her stomach, reported The Indian Express. This, authorities asserted, proved that she did not starve to death.
Premini Kunwar, a resident of Korta village in Garhwa district, died on Friday afternoon. Villagers had alleged that she had died because she was denied ration for a couple of months despite having a valid card. They said she had been surviving on meals from neighbours, reported The Indian Express.
“The postmortem examination found foodgrains in her stomach,” said Garhwa Deputy Commissioner Neha Arora, who had ordered an inquiry into the case. “Therefore, death due to starvation is ruled out. Prolonged illness seems to be the cause.”
Sub-Divisional Officer Pradeep Kumar, who headed the inquiry, said the public distribution system dealer had issued her a receipt on November 27. “But he did not give her the ration because she was not carrying a jhola [a cloth bag],” Kumar wasa quoted as saying by The Indian Express.
Deputy Commissioner Arora said they would take action against the dealer for denying Kunwar her ration for November on “flimsy grounds”.
A fact-finding team from the Right To Food campaign will visit the district on Tuesday to look into the case, an official told Scroll.in.
Danda Block Development Officer Sahjad Parwez told The Telegraph that Kunwar had been suffering from a prolonged illness. “Her family was preparing for her cremation when a section of the local people intervened and started to claim that she had died of starvation,” he said. “I spoke to her son and stepchildren, but could not enter the house to check whether foodgrains were available because of the tense situation.”
He said Kunwar had not been able to eat anything for the past eight days.