Bitter truth of Delhi’s starvation deaths

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When Parliament was witness to fierce politics with Congress President, Rahul Gandhi hitting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government with ‘jumla’ strikes and the sudden hugplomacy, 12 kms from Parliament, three siblings were dying of hunger in the national capital. The deaths of three little sisters, aged eight, four and two, of starvation is a chilling reminder to the gory fact that while you have dinner, 200 million people in the country are going to bed without food.

It is not hinterland of Jharkhand or Chhatisgarh, but the national capital Delhi where its children are dying of starvation. In a country that boasts of being the world’s fastest growing economy, 5 Indians die every minute from hunger. It is a mockery of our claims of development that one-third of the world’s hungry live in India. As per the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), around 20 crore Indians go hungry daily and are malnourished though we claim to have the National Food Security Act in place. Food is the basic right of every living being and ensuring meals for each citizen is the foremost duty of Centre and state governments. There would be blame game and politics over the deaths of Mansi, Shikha and Parul and an enquiry.

The Delhi government has already ordered a magisterial Inquiry into the deaths but we all know the gimmicks of these probes. It is a shame for all of us who don’t understand the pain of poor families that these children went without food for 8 days in Delhi, which is counted among the richest cities of our country. More shocking is the reality that Mandavali in Delhi where these girls lived is just 20 steps away from Anganwadi Kendra set up to provide free education and food to children. The country has abundant food to feed everyone but every year food worth 88,800 crore or 40 per cent of total food is wasted. Sadly we refuse ration to families following the dictum ‘no ration card no food” as it happened in case of these hapless kids for whom hunger had become a constant companion. Could not we follow the policy of ration delivery at the doorstep? The truth is disturbing that 7000 Indians die every day because of hunger. Little doubt that last year in the Global Hunger Index, India ranked at number 100 in the list of 119 countries. With BJP blaming AAP, AAP blaming BJP and Congress blaming both AAP and BJP, a bitter truth has emerged that starvation deaths are a reality, a terrible reality in the 21st century India.

When you finish reading this editorial, ponder for few minutes over the post mortem report of these three children that says there was “no trace of even a gram of food in their stomach.” We don’t want children to meet the fate of Mansis, Shikhas and Paruls.