Deaths of children in the cotton fields of Gujarat: GOVT APATHY

GOVT APATHY CONTINUES

5 more die in Bt cotton fields of Gujarat

Rao Jaswant Singh | TNN

Jaipur: Barely a week after TOI first reported the deaths of children in the Bt cotton fields of Gujarat (August 28), five more deaths have been reported from the area, taking the total number of those dead in just over a month to 10. A majority of the dead are children, including six girls.

All those who died had been trafficked from Udaipur-Dungarpur-Banswara region of Rajasthan. They were taken to work in the Bt cotton fields at Gujarat’s Banaskantha district, when the cross-pollination season began July-end.

Ironically, even after so many deaths, the district administration has failed to check the migration and initiate action against middlemen, who take children from Rajasthan to Gujarat.

Dakshin Rajasthan Majdoor Union, a social organisation working for migrant workers, has been spreading awareness and also helping the affected families in their fight for justice. Executive member of DRMU, Sudhir Katiyar, told TOI that the deceased workers included Bhuri Ben (14), Haju Ben (16), Madi Ben (16) and Ramesh (14) — all from Dungarpur district — and Basu Hakra Kharadi (13) of Udaipur, Rekha Adela (19) and Nathi Ben (40) of Udaipur, Raju Nemchand (21) of Banswara and an unidentified child worker.

Preliminary investigation by the NGO revealed that Basu Hakra died after congestion and respiratory problems, Rekha and Raju died under mysterious conditions while Nathi Ben died due to snake bite, but no postmortem was done in her case.

Katiyar said though police have registered a case, investigation is still on. ‘‘The cotton field owners are strong enough and police are hand in glove with them,’’ he alleged.In two days, seven Maha farmers kill self

TIMES NEWS NETWORK

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