NHRC probes hunger deaths in Orissa district

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Chabripali (Orissa), Mar 27 (ANI): The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the apex watchdog on human rights on Saturday conducted an on the spot probe into the reported deaths due to starvation at Chabripali village in Orissa's Balangir district.

Damodar Sarangi headed the special NHRC team that visited the village for an in-depth inquiry to ascertain the relevant facts leading to the reported starvation deaths of five members of a family, who allegedly died of starvation in the past months.

The villagers told team members about their staple diet, which consists of mahua flowers, kendu fruit, roots of bamboo and other forest produce.

Sarangi did not disclose the findings of the report, but said he had discussed the report of starvation deaths with concerned officials and taken stock of government schemes in the area.

"I went to these villages and verified whether these deaths have taken place and if so in what circumstances? What is the condition of the families there and then we also verified the social security support available in the region," said Sarangi.

"What are the government schemes, whether they have been implemented correctly or not? We also looked into the medical reports of the dead people," he added.

Sarangi, who interacted individually with almost all the residents of Chabripali village and noted their problems said he would submit a comprehensive report to the concerned NHRC officials.

While speaking about the deaths, the villagers narrated their plight to Sarangi and mentioned that the government has not taken any remedial measures till date.

"Jhintu Bariha was a very needy person. I can recollect that his one child died after which he consulted us, and then the next day, his other child died too. Before our eyes, both his children died," said Taral Bariha, a resident of Chabripali village.

"The next day, his wife also fell ill and subsequently died. We found that she had not eaten for several days. Due to starvation she and her children died," he added.

On September 6 and 7, 2009, ten-month old Gundru Bariha and three-year old Siba Prasad Bariha died due to severe malnourishment. Two days later, on September 9, 2009, their 35-year old mother, Bimla Bariha died.

The father, Jhintu Bariha, and the elder son Ramprasad, aged around 7, received medical attention. Jhintu was hospitalized several times for fever and lose motion. He died on October 7, 2009.

On December 17, 2009 his mother, Minji Bahira (aged 70), died after she was brought to the hospital in a critical condition.

Seven year-old Ramprasad survives alone in the family. (ANI)

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