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Public hearing on starvation deaths in Palamu

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  • vivekdse
    ============[RightToFood] ================== vivekdse wrote: Mon, 01 Jul 2002 07:41:26 -0000 Subject: [RightToFood] Urgent - Public
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 1, 2002
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      ============[RightToFood] ==================

      vivekdse wrote:

      Mon, 01 Jul 2002 07:41:26 -0000
      Subject: [RightToFood] Urgent - Public hearing on starvation deaths in Palamu

      Dear friends,

      We are writing to invite you to a public hearing on the "right to
      food", to be held in Manatu (district Palamau) on Tuesday, 9 July,
      from 10 am to 4 pm.

      This public hearing will be taking place in the thick of one's of
      India's most deprived and troubled areas, in response to the critical
      situation that has developed there. You may be aware that three
      starvation deaths have recently been reported in Kusumatand, a poor
      hamlet in Manatu panchayat. A fact-finding team, composed of members
      of Gram Swaraj Abhiyan and the Right to Food Campaign, recently
      visited Kusumatand and found that these deaths are nothing but the
      extreme manifestation of a massive problem of endemic hunger in the
      area. Most people in Kusumatand live in a state of permanent
      semi-starvation. Aside from whatever little khudi (broken rice) they
      are able to buy, they survive mainly from wild foods such as mahua,
      chakora and gethi. They also drink highly polluted water from shallow
      wells. It is no wonder that the famished and exhausted people of
      Kusumatand die regularly of trivial hunger-related diseases.

      This disastrous situation is partly due to the comprehensive failure
      of development programmes and welfare schemes in the area.
      work in Manatu is at a standstill. There are no drought relief
      programmes, even though the area has been declared
      Even after the hunger deaths occurred and received wide media
      attention, the government remained passive. Instead of taking action
      to help the people of Kusumatand, the authorities dismissed the
      stories (without proper evidence) and attempted to muzzle those who
      had reported the hunger deaths.

      The situation in Manatu also reflects gross violations of recent
      Supreme Court orders on the right to food (PUCL vs Union of India,
      2001-2) on the part of the Jharkhand government. To illustrate, the
      government has blissfully ignored the Supreme Court order to
      cooked mid-day meals in all primary schools by 28 May 2001.
      BPL households in Manatu have not received any grain from the public
      distribution system during the last 12 months. Even Antyodaya
      households have been mercilessly robbed.

      Against this background, members of Gram Swaraj Abhiyan and the Right
      to Food Campaign have decided to convene a public hearing on the
      to food in Manatu on Tuesday, 9 July. This will be an opportunity for
      people to voice their complaints, learn about their entitlements, and
      plan further action to claim their right to food. We appeal to you to
      support this effort by joining the public hearing in full strength.

      Byomkesh, Ajit, Manoj, Bhola, Ashrita, Jean
      (Gram Swaraj Abhiyan and Right to Food support group)

      For directions to Manatu and other details, please contact Ajit Minz
      (tel 06562-27264) or Balram (tel 9835130850) or Vivek
      (vivekdse@...) or Manoj Kumar Singh (tel 06566-85483) or

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