Personal tools
You are here: Home Archives Hunger Alerts 2004 Hunger Alerts INDIA: Children going blind due to starvation in Uttar Pradesh state

INDIA: Children going blind due to starvation in Uttar Pradesh state

HUNGER ALERT HUNGER ALERT HUNGER ALERT HUNGER ALERT HUNGER ALERT

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION - URGENT APPEALS PROGRAM

21 September 2004

---------------------------------------------------------------------

HA-03-2004: INDIA: Children going blind due to starvation in Uttar Pradesh state

INDIA: Severe malnutrition, government inaction

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information from the People's Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR), India about the case of two young children suffering serious illnesses due to starvation.

The AHRC urges you to write to the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh to ensure that the two children are restored to full health at state expense, and for an investigation into the circumstances of their starvation and inaction of local authorities.

Urgent Appeals Desk--Hunger Alert
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)
-----------------------------------------------------------

DETAILED INFORMATION:

On 27 August 2004, staff of the PVCHR visited Vatsalaya Chikitsalaya children's hospital in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh state, India and saw two Dalit children, Chandan and Malaka suffering from acute illnesses as a result of severe malnutrition. Chandan is eight-years' old, but was found to weigh a mere nine kilograms. His eyes were not opening due to a disease brought on by acute vitamin A deficiency, and the doctors examining him were uncertain about the condition of his eyes. Malaka is six and was found to be weighing eight kilograms. She was suffering from anemia, and also had an eye condition due to vitamin A deficiency. Both children have respiratory infections.

The father of Chandan and Malaka, Umashankar Ram, had two years previously lost his income due to the collapse of the local textiles industry in his area. He then worked as a rickshaw puller. Although he was identified as Below Poverty Line, and issued a card by the district authorities that would entitle him to purchase rations at lower cost, he could not even afford to buy them at the discounted rate. In August, he met with his village head, Lalman Pal, and village secretary, but they did not give any help, nor inform the district administration.

 

SUGGESTED ACTION:

After visiting the hospital, the PVCHR representatives sent a petition to key persons in government and other agencies. Please support their petition, and the efforts of the doctors to save the lives of these two children, by also sending a letter to the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh on this case. A sample letter follows.

----------------

Dear Mr Yadav

Re: Two children suffering severe illnesses due to starvation in Varanasi

I am deeply disturbed to hear of two children suffering from severe illnesses due to acute malnutrition in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.

According to the information I have received, the two children have been receiving treatment in Vatsalaya Chikitsalaya children's hospital in Varanasi. The children, Chandan and Malaka, who are Dalits, are suffering from acute illnesses as a result of severe malnutrition, in particular, protein deficiency. Chandan is eight-years' old, but has been found to weigh a mere nine kilograms. His eyes have not been opening due to a disease brought on by acute vitamin A deficiency, and the doctors examining him have been uncertain about the condition of his eyes. Malaka is six and has been found to weigh eight kilograms. She has been suffering anemia, and also has had an eye condition due to vitamin A deficiency. Both children have had respiratory infections. Their father, Umashankar Ram, is said to have lost his livelihood since the local textiles industry collapsed. Although he was identified as Below Poverty Line, and issued a ration card by the district authorities, he could not even afford food under that scheme. In August, he is said to have met with his village head, Lalman Pal, and village secretary, but they did not give any help, nor inform the district administration about the starvation of his children.

I would like to remind you that you have obligations under international and national law to all persons residing in the state of Uttar Pradesh to respect, protect and fulfil the right to food. I therefore urge you to ensure that these two children are given all of the care they need at state expense so that they are restored to full health. Furthermore, I urge you to order a thorough investigation of the case, to establish the prevailing conditions in the children's village with a view to preventing further starvation among children and other residents there. Finally, I urge you to order a separate investigation into the alleged negligence of the village authorities, and any other concerned state officers, with a view to holding them liable for their breach of these obligations to the two children concerned. In this regard, I would stress that the right to food can be made effective only through enforcement of the right by way of criminal action against persons or agencies responsible for violations.

Yours sincerely

---

PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav
Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh
Chief Minister's Secretariat
Lucknow
Uttar Pradesh
INDIA
Fax: + 91-522-2230002/2239234
Email: csup@up.nic.in

PLEASE SEND COPIES TO:

1. Justice A. S. Anand
National Human Rights Commission
Sardar Patel Bhaven, Sansad Marg,
New Delhi 110 001
INDIA
Tel: + 91 11 23346244
Fax: + 91 11 23366537
E-mail: ionhrc@hub.nic.in or chairnhrc@nic.in

2. Justice S S Rajendra Babu
Chief Justice of India
Supreme Court of India
New Delhi 110001
INDIA
Fax: +91-11-23383792/23381508

3. Justice A P Mishra
Chairperson
Uttar Pradesh Human Rights Commission
6-A Kalidass Marg
Lucknow
27 Park Road
Allahabad
Uttar Pradesh
INDIA
Tel: + 91 532-2726742
Fax: + 91 532-2726743
Email: uphrc@sancharnet.in

4. Mr. Jean Ziegler
UNCHR Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food
c/o Mr. Carlos Villan Duran
Room 4-066
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights,
Palais Wilson,
Rue des Paquis 52, Geneva
Switzerland
Fax: 41 22 9179010
Email: sect.hchr@unog.ch

5. Mr Anthony Banbury
Regional Director
World Food Programme
Unit No. 2, 7th Floor
Wave Place Building
55 Wireless Road
Lumpini, Patumwan,
Bangkok 10330
THAILAND
Tel: +66-2-6554115
Fax: +66-2-6554413
Email: Anthony.banbury@wfp.org or Bkk.unescap@un.org

6. Mr Pedro Medrano Rojas
Country Director
World Food Programme
2 Poorvi Marg,
Vasant Vihar,
New Delhi 110057
INDIA
Tel: +91-11-26150000
Fax: +91-11-26150019
Email: wfp.newdelhi@wfp.org

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme--Hunger Alert
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)

Document Actions