Days after news of alleged starvation deaths in West Bengal appeared in a section of the media, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday refuted the reports as “fabricated”, saying the deaths either resulted from “age-related ailments” or “excessive liquor consumption”.
Last week, media reports had suggested that seven people of Sabar community, in Jungle Mahal area of Jhargram district, died due to starvation.
In her address to the Assembly, Banerjee said the state government provides foodgrain to “every poor person” in the state.
“The reports that people from Sabar community have died due to starvation is absolutely false and fabricated. No one has died in Bengal due to starvation. We provide free rice and wheat to each and every poor person in this state – from the hills in the north to Jungle Mahal in the south,” she stated.
Sabar community is an ethnic tribe, mainly found in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal.
“People have died in Jungle Mahal due to excessive consumption of liquor or age-related ailments. While two people have died of illness and old age, others have died due to liver problems caused by excessive consumption of liquor,” she asserted.
Listing the development projects taken up for the welfare of tribal communities, the CM said the state has always been sensitive to the needs of the poor.
Meanwhile, the legislators of opposition CPI(M) and the Congress staged a walkout from the assembly as their demand for a detailed discussion on alleged Sabar community deaths was rejected, following the chief minister’s unilateral statement on the issue.
“The state government is afraid to hold a discussion, adhering to assembly rules, as it will unveil many secrets, giving us an opportunity to question the government. That is why the CM unilaterally gave a statement,” Leader of opposition Abdul Mannan said.