Srikant Dixit was a 40-year-old man in Pakriha village in Barabanki district of Uttar Pradesh. He was too poor to afford a meal a day and earned his living as a daily wage labourer. Then one day he fell ill. That illness prevented him from going out to work.
For 12 days he remained in that pitiable state. All this while Srikant could not eat anything because there was nothing to eat. And then, he died.
His 70-year-old mother, Kalyani Devi, says that her son – the older of the two – died due to starvation. She told reporters that the family tried to survive on a mixture of flour and water; an ailing Srikant could not. Even the villager support the family’s claim.
According to this report, the district administration claimed that he died of ailment not hunger.
The administration’s claim that Srikant did not die of starvation is based on a postmortem report that says that there was 50 grams of food in his stomach.
The State Government has now asked the district administration to submit a report in this regard.
Reports say that it is only after the death of Srikant that the administration was jolted out of its slumber.
No one came to help him or his family while he was slowly turning into a skeletal figure. Now that he is dead, the authorities are sending sacks of food grains to his house.
But there is no use of this sudden benevolence.
Srikant’s mother is blind. The family does not have a ration card, job card or BPL card which are meant to help people like Srikant who live below the poverty line.
His mother and younger brother, Shivakant, tried but could not get ration because they didn’t have a card.
What is depressing is the emergence of the fact that there are many like Srikant in Uttar Pradesh without a ration card or Below Poverty Line (BPL) card despite fit for inclusion in that category. That officials reached his hut after he was dead compounds the sorry state of affairs.
Srikant’s death has triggered a wave of sympathy and anger in the state which heads to polls next year. It is worth noting that Barabanki is merely 20 kilometers from Lucknow, the state capital.