//Varanasi Weavers facing starvation death

Varanasi Weavers facing starvation death

Peoples’ Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) got information from its associated Human Rights Defender Aftab Alam being threaten by the village head of Bhatti, as he highlighted the issue malnutrition, tuberculosis and hunger death in the Lohta locality of Dhannipur(Bhatti), weaver dominated area of Kashi Vidyapith Block of Varanasi district in India.

Aftab Alam son of late Shamshuddin is permanent resident of Dharmariya (Lohta), Kashi Vidyapith block of Varanasi district, Uttar Pradesh. Mr. Aftab Alam is weaver. He is associated Human Rights activist in Peoples’ Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) and currently working as consultant fellow on education in the project funded by Sir Dorabji Tata Trust (SDTT) and is elected member of Block Development Committee (BDC).

 On 9th February, 09 when Aftab Alam went to Dhannipur village for his routine visit, meanwhile he got life threatening call from mobile no. +91-9936036962 at 12:16 pm on his mobile phone +91-8081961866. Village head of Bhatti Mr. Sujeet Yadav alias Lakkad Pahalwan and other influenced people gave threat and abuse Aftab not to again enter in this area.

After two hours Aftab Alam informed the entire incidence to Mr. Harun Shah. While returning from Dhannipur (Lohta) in the way Mukhtar Ahmad stopped and inquired about the case of Istiyaq Ahmand. Aftab Alam highlighted the case of Istiyaq Ahmad for immediate relief and he gave letter to village head. (Istiyaq Ahmad is resident of village Sabha Bhatti. Istiyaq is weaver and from last three month he is unable to do work due to serious illness. His wife stitches blanket and earn 10 -15 Rupees in a day and hardly manage to meet the two ends of her three children).

Meanwhile village head with few other influenced people arrived and threat him “walk off and don’t come back here”. Aftab Alam gently said “what is my mistake? Why you are behaving like this. They forcefully tried Aftab Alam to sit on his motor bike and other person was assisting him. Aftab Alam cried for help, Gulzar Ahmad initiated for help, but on the threat of the influenced person he back foot and did not dare to proceed against the village head.

Aftab Alam got panic after facing the unexpected life threatening incidence and anyhow managed to rid away from any unexpected happening. PVCHR and Aftam wrote a letter to DGP and NHRC in this regard.

Since 2004 Aftab Alam is working on the weavers issue in the area of Lohta, a weaver dominated area. He highlighted the issue of malnutrition, tuberculosis and hunger death and the condition of weavers after plight of the weaving industry. In May 2008 he highlighted the malnourishment of 14 children in Dhannipur. Administration admissions there were 106 children suffering from severe malnutrition in Dhannipur alone. This is happening because auxiliary health staff assigned to look after the children does not visit the area. 30 quintals of grains meant for distribution among the poor weavers of the village was lying undistributed till Ishrat breathed his last. He brought the issue at German Radio.Please visit given below URL for more information:

Lenin Raghuvanshi