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regular-article-logo Monday, 24 June 2024

Tribal woman’s wait for compensation continues

Lalita Devi, 27, sustained grievous injuries in Latehar forest as she accidentally set her foot on an IED planted by Maoists

Animesh Bisoee Jamshedpur Published 27.02.23, 03:47 AM
Representational image

Representational image File picture

A tribal woman, who became permanently disabled in April last year because of Maoist violence in Jharkhand’s Latehar, is yet to receive any compensation.

Lalita Devi, 27, sustained grievous injuries in a Latehar forest as she accidentally set her foot on an IED planted by the Maoists. Her right leg had to be amputated following the incident.

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Her husband is also not being able to work in their small field as he has to look after their two girl children — one three years old and another seven years old. As a result, they have been forced to lead a penurious existence.

“I had gone to pick Mahua flowers (used by tribals) in the forest but as I was going toward the tree, a blast took place and I lost consciousness. When I regained consciousness, I was in a hospital in Ranchi and was told about the injury. After a few days, my right leg was amputated. I also sustained injuries in my private parts,” said Lalita Devi, a native of Nareshgarh village under Latehar police station.

The incident took place on April 12 last year.

“Forget about compensation, we had to arrange from our own pocket for medical expenses to the tune of Rs 1 lakh at the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), Ranchi. I applied to Latehar deputy commissioner and Latehar superintendent of police on May 6 last year for compensation. Several organisations had also raised the issue with the chief minister (Hemant Soren) and other ministers. But nothing has happened so far. We are in a very bad position financially,” lamented Raju Khirwar, 30, husband of Lalita Devi.

Raju has a small patch of land but he is unable to work on it. “We have two small girls and I have to look after them as my wife is bound to a wheelchair. The pain is still there in the private parts. We survive somehow with the ration and with help from my brothers. The compensation would have helped us a lot,” said Raju.

According to norms, the central government has to pay Rs 3 lakh for permanent disability because of rebel-inflicted violence, while the Jharkhand government is supposed to pay an ex gratia compensation of Rs 50,000.

Repeated calls and messages on Latehar deputy commissioner Bhor Singh Yadav’s official number failed to have any response.

Latehar SP Anjani Anjan, however, admitted to knowing about the case and expressed an inability to comment on the latest status.

“I can recall the case of Lalita Devi, but am not able to tell the exact status. I can only check and get back,” the SP said.

Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (a coalition of organisations fighting for human rights) tweeted the issue to the state chief minister Hemant Soren, health minister Banna Gupta and RIMS hospital administration in April last year, seeking compensation.

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