MP tribals told to declare poverty on walls of homes

Nearly all huts housing members of the Saharia tribe in a village in Shivpuri district of Madhya Pradesh bear on their walls a declaration of the poverty of the inhabitants.

BHOPAL: Nearly all huts housing members of the Saharia tribe in a village in Shivpuri district of Madhya Pradesh bear on their walls a declaration of the poverty of the inhabitants.

Mera parivar gareeb hai (My family is poor), say the black letters on a yellow background.
Government staff has allegedly told the tribals that the declaration is a prerequisite for getting benefits under various schemes meant for the welfare of below poverty line (BPL) families.

The declaration of poverty
painted outside a house in
Vinega village

Abhay Jain, a final year law student at the National Law University in Odisha, has petitioned the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on the matter, alleging gross violation of the tribals’ right to live with dignity.

The NHRC has sent the petition to the authorities concerned and sought an action taken report in four weeks.

The matter came to light when Jain, who is from Shivpuri district, went along with Pulkit Singhal, a university junior, to Vinega village under Chandanpur gram panchayat as part of a legal aid project for the poor.

In his petition sent to the NHRC last month, the law student alleged that the declaration was humiliating for the BPL villagers and was in gross violation of their right to live with dignity.

He said those who refused to paint the declaration were denied benefits under various government-run welfare schemes.

Of the 172 families living in Vinega village, around 100 are from the Saharia tribe, Jain told The New Indian Express on Saturday. Half of them have failed to get subsidised foodgrains despite having the declaration painted on their houses.

Shivpuri district collector Tarun Rathi said on Saturday, “There is no provision that for availing benefits of BPL schemes the beneficiary’s house has to be painted with such a declaration.

I’ve asked the block panchayat CEO concerned to take action against the staff responsible for such an inexcusable act, and also conduct a detailed probe into the matter.”

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