Bareilly woman denied monthly ration over Aadhaar; dies of hunger
Shakina Ashfaq, a 50-year-old woman died in Uttar Pradesh's Bareilly on Tuesday. Her family alleges that she died of starvation as she had not eaten for five days. According to the family, they were denied their monthly quota of subsidized food-grains for November because Shakina, who was paralyzed, couldn't go to the ration shop for her Aadhaar fingerprint authentication.
Shakina was too ill to be taken to ration shop
Since Shakina was marked as the head of the family in the ration card, the shopkeeper said he couldn't give them anything in her absence. Shakina's husband Mohd Ishaq said that she was too unwell to be taken out of home, which is why they couldn't take her to the ration store. Ishaq alleges that despite his constant pleading, the shopkeeper didn't yield.
Government claims Shakina died of illness, not starvation
However, doubts are being cast on the authenticity of the starvation claim. Initial inquiries into the matter made by the Yogi Adityanath government have found that Shakina died of illness, and not starvation. Also, the local administration claims that Shakina had about Rs. 4,000 in her bank account and shouldn't have died of her hunger as her family alleges she did.
Not the first case: 11-year-old girl allegedly died in Jharkhand
In September, an 11-year-old Jharkhand girl allegedly died of starvation, months after her family was stopped receiving subsidized food for not linking their ration card with Aadhaar. Despite the government report claiming that she died of malaria, her family maintained that hunger killed her.
Alternate systems in place, people can't be denied monthly ration
There is no rule denying people their monthly ration if they fail to be present to authenticate their biometric data or don't have an Aadhaar card. If the person, in whose name the Antyodaya card has been made, cannot go, as in Shakina's case, relatives get ration on their behalf, Seema Tripathi, Bareilly's official in-charge of food-grain supply, said.
BPL families can avail subsidized food-grains under Antyodaya scheme
Central government's Antyodaya scheme allows families that are below poverty line (BPL) to avail every month 35kg of wheat, rice and sugar at subsidized rates. Shakina was an Antyodaya cardholder.