RANCHI: The Hemant Soren government’s denial of more than a dozen starvation deaths in Jharkhand has sparked political controversy in the state. BJP and Left parties have slammed the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) government after it said that reports of a dozen people dying due to hunger were incorrect.
In a written reply to CPI (ML) MLA Binod Singh in the Assembly on Friday, Hemant Soren-led JMM government said that reports were incorrect.
Notably, hunger deaths and mob-lynching were major issues raised by the ruling alliance during 2019 Assembly polls, which catapulted them to power.He made the statement on a day when a 42-year-old man Bhukhal Ghasi at Shankardih under Kasmar Block in Bokaro allegedly died of starvation. According to wife Rekha Devi, no food had been cooked in their house for the last three days as they were out of foodgrains.The family had no ration card and were also not receiving any government benefits. Bokaro Deputy Commissioner, who visited the family, confirmed the death and said that the entire family was anaemic.
Taking note of the incident, Soren has ordered immediate action and assured that those responsible will not be spared.“Food secretary has been asked to visit the family and take required steps in this regard,” Soren said through his Twitter handle.Cornering the government, Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha, an umbrella organisation of various groups and activists, which had been raising the issue of starvation deaths, questioned the intent of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha government.
“This is ridiculous... It raises serious questions on the government’s intent as the budget was also silent on most of the issues related to hunger and under-nutrition. We demand that the government take the response back immediately and provide compensation to the families and shows firm commitment to address hunger deaths in the State,” said a member of Right to Food Campaign Siraj Dutta. At least 18 persons have died of starvation in the last five years, he added. BJP also alleged that the Hemant Soren government was misguiding the people during 2019 Assembly polls only to grab power. Food and Supply Minister Rameshwar Oraon could not be reached for comment.