A 58-year-old woman died, allegedly of starvation, at Mangargarhi village in Jharkhand’s Giridih district on Saturday, The New Indian Express reported on Monday. Villagers said Savitri Devi did not have anything to eat for the last three days as she was denied ration by the Public Distribution System shop after her ration card was cancelled.
“Savitri Devi died of hunger as she was hungry for at least three days as she had nothing to cook in her house,” said Chainpur Panchayat mukhia (head) Ramprasad Mahto. “In spite of completing all formalities, she could not be issued a ration card.”
District officials said the woman’s family did not have a ration card. “Prima facie, there was no food in the house,” said Executive Magistrate and Dumri Block Development Officer Rahul Dev, according to The Indian Express. “The family did not have ration card. We are probing whether an application was submitted and, if so, whether it was properly processed.”
A district official said the ration card of the woman could not be made because of negligence on part of the authorities. “Action will be taken against the culprits,” said Sheetal Prasad.
State Food and Supplies Minister Saryu Roy has asked the deputy commissioner for a detailed report. The officials will also investigate why the family was denied other government benefits.
The family has requested the administration to not send the body for post-mortem but to cremate it.
Several people have died of alleged starvation in Jharkhand in the last few months. Eleven-year-old Santoshi Kumari died crying for rice in Simdega district in September. In January, Lukhi Murmu, a 30-year-old woman from Dhawadangal village in Pakur district, reportedly died of under-nutrition and exhaustion. According to a fact-finding report by activists from the non-profit Right to Food Campaign, Murmu had been denied rations since October because the Aadhaar-enabled point-of-sale machine at the local ration shop had failed to authenticate her biometrics.