‘We’re Treating People Like Wild Animals’: Jharkhand HC While Hearing Starvation Death Case


The two-judge bench held the government accountable for the situation in the state, noting that government schemes “only exist on paper”.

Ranchi: The Jharkhand high court on Thursday, during the hearing of a case on alleged deaths caused by starvation, pulled up the state government, saying that people in remote areas of the state are still living in a “primitive age”.

The court observed that healthcare facilities are not available to people living in remote areas, government schemes exist only on paper and that it is a matter of shame for civilised society that a woman is forced to spend her days on a tree.

It also noted that people living in these areas have to travel eight kilometres to get ration and that pure drinking water is not available to them.

The observations were made after a bench comprising Chief Justice Ravi Ranjan and Justice Sujit Narayan Prasad went through a report by the Jharkhand State Legal Services Authority (JHALSA).

The bench directed the state government to file a detailed reply to the JHALSA report and asked the secretary of the Social Welfare Department to appear before the court on the next date of hearing, September 16.

Bhukhal Ghasi, a resident of Shankardih village in the Kasmar block of Jharkhand’s Bokaro district, allegedly died of starvation in 2020. Six months later, his daughter and son also reportedly died the same way.

The high court had taken suo motu cognisance of the matter after the media reported the deaths of the three members of the family due to starvation, within a span of six months.

At the time, the court had asked the government to respond to the matter and JHALSA to submit a report on the ground reality of government schemes.

The state government had submitted that no one in the state had died due to hunger and the causes of death were illness.

The JHALSA report also spoke of a woman of Boram block in the East Singhbhum district who has been spending her days on a tree.

Describing this as a “matter of shame”, the bench said, “We are treating them like wild [animals] and not human beings whereas it is their forest from where the minerals are being extracted. We are not giving them anything after extracting the minerals.”

“Nothing will happen if the government just turns a blind eye,” the bench went on to note. “You keep saying that we are a welfare state whereas the reality is that government schemes are running only on paper. No work is visible on the ground. The government will have to think about it.” 

Courtesy The Wire

Leave a Reply