There are no starvation deaths in Morpalli village in Dantewada, contrary to earlier reports by local media, said National Advisory Council member and Supreme Court food commissioner Harsh Mander on Wednesday.
Earlier, a doctor had confirmed the same to HT.
The doctor, the first outsider to visit the affected villages when no one was allowed entry, did not want his identity to be disclosed for security reasons.
In mid-March, security forces allegedly burnt down 300 tribal houses in Tadmetla, Morpalli and Timapuram villages.
Following this, some newspapers published reports of starvation deaths from Morpalli, which in turn prompted the SC on March 29 to direct food commissioners Harsh Mander and NC Saxena to visit the village and submit a report.
“I visited Morpalli to inquire into the hunger deaths and the conditions of villagers affected by violence,” said Mander, who was accompanied in his visit by the state principal secretary (food). “The situation is really pathetic and the villagers are struggling to meet basic needs. They are forced to live in a starvation like situation,” he said.
“There is no government machinery and the people are deprived of welfare schemes, like PDS, pension, National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and others,” he added.
While accepting that the affected area resembled a war zone, Mander said a democratically elected government should fulfill its responsibilities.
“It’s not an easy situation there when one member in the family becomes a SPO and another becomes a Maoist,” he said, adding he will be submitting his report within the next 10 days.