The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Sunday issued a notice to the Uttar Pradesh government over reported death of a five-year-old girl due to starvation and illness in Agra.
The commission has issued a notice to the chief secretary of Uttar Pardesh calling for a detailed report within four weeks, including that on the relief and rehabilitation provided to the family by the administration and the action taken against the delinquent officials.
The chief secretary is also expected to issue instructions to all the district authorities to ensure that such incidents of cruelty and negligence do not recur in future, the NHRC said.
The commission said it has taken suo motu cognizance of a media report that the girl allegedly died due to starvation and ill health as the family was not able to get food and medical care for her.
The NHRC observed that "a five-year-old innocent girl has apparently died due to starvation and illness while a number of social welfare schemes run by the central and the state government do exist."
During the period of lockdown, the government agencies have specifically introduced a number of schemes for the poor, migrant labourers and other vulnerable sections of the society, the commission said.
"The state government has made several statements that they are committed to ensure Right to Food, Shelter and Livelihood for the poor people and have been working on issues relating to labourers and labour laws but this heart wrenching incident shows a different picture," the NHRC said.
A poor girl has lost her life, the breadwinner of the family is suffering from tuberculosis and is bedridden. The family is not only financially poor but also belongs to the scheduled caste for which special schemes have been announced by the central and state governments, the commission said.
Calling it "a serious issue of violation of human rights due to gross negligence by the local administration", the NHRC said it is for the local public servants to honestly implement the schemes, "so that the poor and needy can avail the benefits which, apparently was not done in this case".
Had the authorities been sincere and vigilant, loss of a precious human life could have been averted, the NHRC said.
According to the media report, the girl was living with her parents and sister at Nagla Vidhichand village in Agra's Baroli Ahir block. The family was without any work for about a month and in recent weeks went without food, it said.
Reportedly, many families in the locality do not have a ration card. The girl had become weak and had fever for three days. She could not bear the pain and succumbed to illness and hunger on Friday night, according to the report.
"The local authorities reportedly did nothing to help the family like securing food in the lockdown-induced crisis. The District Administration has said it will find out where things went wrong and they have taken cognisance of the matter and an investigation has been ordered into the child's death," the NHRC said.