Paswan demands probe into Bihar ‘starvation death’

Patna, March 28 (IANS) Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Monday demanded a judicial probe into the alleged starvation death of a Mahadalit man in Bihar’s Sheikhpura district.

“We have demanded a judicial probe into the death of Mahadalit, Joba Manjhi,” Paswan, union minister of consumer affairs, told the media here.

Earlier, opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislators kicked up a ruckus in the Bihar assembly on Monday demanding a high-level probe into the alleged starvation death of Manjhi.

The state government has, however, denied the allegation that Manjhi died due to starvation. The government maintains that Manjhi died due to illness.

Paswan, Dalit leader and chief of the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), an ally of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), alleged that the Grand Alliance government led by Nitish Kumar in Bihar has failed to implement the food security programme to ensure foodgrains to the poorest of the poor in the state.

Taking pot shots at Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s government, Paswan said the food security programme was “launched in a hurry” in the state ahead of last year’s Bihar assembly elections and has “failed in its implementation”.

“Poor people are not getting foodgrains,” he claimed.

Paswan said a central team will visit Bihar soon to examine the status of the food security programme and submit a report.

Last week, former chief minister and Hindustani Awam Morcha president Jitan Ram Manjhi alleged that Joba Manjhi had died due to starvation.

But district authorities of Sheikhpura have said that Manjhi died due to illness.

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