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Bihar hunger death cloud

Patna, Sept. 2: Three alleged hunger deaths have been reported from Bhagalpur, forcing the Rabri Devi government on the defensive.

The district administration has ordered a probe into the deaths, reported by the Sultanganj panchayat last week. Bhagalpur district magistrate K.P. Ramaiya said: “The victims appear to have died of disease, not hunger. But a probe would help get a full picture”.

All the three victims were weavers employed in the once-famous Bhagalpur silk industry. The dead — Md Rabbani, Kuresha Khatoon and Md Karim — belonged to Dilgauri village.

Villagers said Rabbani contracted tuberculosis and died on August 22. The others, suffering from anaemia and low blood pressure, died on August 19 and 20. “We once contributed to the growth of Bhagalpur silk industry. Now most people in the villages have no work. So people are starving, falling sick and inching towards death”, Jubeda Khatoon told a team of politicians who visited the village yesterday.

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