On 21 October 2021, the Indigenous Rights Advocacy Centre (IRAC) has moved the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) against reported starvation of 8,000 tribals due to denial of ration in Garhwa district of Jharkhand for the last three months and tribals are surviving by eating roots.
IRAC has taken a serious note of media reports stating that thousands of tribals including those belonging to Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) are starving due to inaction by the authorities to provide ration under the Public Distribution System (PDS) as well as under a free rice scheme for primitive tribal groups (PTG) called as “PTG Dakia Yojana” in Jharkhand.
The first report dated 4th October 2021 by Prabhat Khabar stated that 8,000 beneficiaries belonging to PVTGs have not received free food ration for the last three months in 15 blocks including Ranka block in Garhwa district of Jharkhand. The news report is available online at https://www.prabhatkhabar.com/state/jharkhand/garhwa/jharkhand-news-8000-beneficiaries-of-primitive-tribal-family-are-not-getting-rice-2-lakh-50-thousand-poor-beneficiaries-of-garhwa-also-have-hanging-ration-smj
Further, News18 Hindi news channel in a report dated 19 October 2021, it is stated that the tribal families under Siroi Kalan Panchayat in Ranka Block in Garhwa district of Jharkhand have not received ration for the last three months before the Dussehra 2021. As a result they are starving and surviving on roots available in the forest. The report is available online at https://hindi.news18.com/news/jharkhand/garhwa-gunahgaar-kaun-3-mahine-se-nahi-mila-ration-kand-mool-khaane-ko-majboor-adivasi-parivaar-nodmk3-3804689.html
IRAC stated that starvation of tribals during the COVID19 pandemic due to indifferent attitude of the State Government is a gross human rights violation and demanded the immediate intervention of the National Human Rights Commission by taking the following measures:
- Direct theChief Secretary, Government of Jharkhand, to order a high-level inquiry into thedenial of food ration to about 8,000 tribals in Garhwa district, Jharkhand and submit a report to the NHRC within two weeks;
- Direct the Chief Secretary, Government of Jharkhand to immediately issue ration to the starving tribal families with immediate effect; and hold the responsible officers accountable for the denial of ration;