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740 Tribal Students Dead, National Human Rights Commission sends notice to Maharashtra Government

The issue came to the fore after the death of a 12-year-old tribal girl in Palghar district on October 7 due to fever and complications related to malnutrition

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October 18, 2016: Taking serious cognizance of the deaths of 740 tribal students in residential schools in 10 years, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) demanded an explanation on the issue from the Maharashtra government here on Tuesday.

The issue came to the fore after the death of a 12-year-old tribal girl in Palghar district on October 7 due to fever and complications related to malnutrition.

Later, another 10 students of a school in the district were admitted to hospitals for malnutrition-related health problems, most of them belonging to very poor tribal families.

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Noting that “the schools lack health services and basic amenities,” the NHRC said as per norms the students should be screened at least twice a year but government agencies are not following it (the norms).

“The school authorities, as their lawful guardians, are responsible for their welfare, safety and health care needs. The negligence on the part of the Department of Tribal Development and the school authorities is a violation of Right to Life, Dignity and Equality of the students,” the NHRC said in its notice to the state Chief Secretary.

Maharashtra has around 552 residential schools for tribal students run by the Tribal Development Department.

Several posts in these schools are lying vacant and budgetary provisions are not being utilised, as a result of which many students have died due to dengue, malaria, food poisoning, drowning, snake bites and suicides in the past.

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Incidentally, mid-September, Maharashtra Governor C.V. Rao had directed three cabinet ministers — Pankaja Munde, Vishnu Savra and Deepak Sawant — to visit the affected tribal areas of Palghar and other parts of the state.

He had asked them to initiate urgent remedial measures to tackle the problems of malnutrition and other health issues in these tribal areas.

Later, Tribal Development Minister Vishnu Savra faced the ire of the tribals when he visited one of the worst-hit hamlets in Jawahar sub-district.

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When the angry locals informed him that over 600 children have died and what has he done for them, Savra had retorted: “So what? The government is doing its work, implementing schemes.”

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Furious with his reply, the villagers asked him to ‘get out’ after which Savra said that if he was not required, he would not come there. (IANS)

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  • Ruchika Kumari

    They also need proper medical treatments. Governments should take proper steps for there betterment.

  • Diksha Arya

    The tribal people need immediate medical attention… people like Savra are so insensitive…

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Aadhaar Helpline Mystery: French Security Expert Tweets of doing a Full Disclosure Tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App

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Google asks employees to delete China search engine memo: Report. Wikimedia Commons

Google’s admission that it had in 2014 inadvertently coded the 112 distress number and the UIDAI helpline number into its setup wizard for Android devices triggered another controversy on Saturday as India’s telecom regulator had only recommended the use of 112 as an emergency number in April 2015.

After a large section of smartphone users in India saw a toll-free helpline number of UIDAI saved in their phone-books by default, Google issued a statement, saying its “internal review revealed that in 2014, the then UIDAI helpline number and the 112 distress helpline number were inadvertently coded into the SetUp wizard of the Android release given to OEMs for use in India and has remained there since”.

Aadhaar Helpline Number Mystery: French security expert tweets of doing a full disclosure tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App, Image: Wikimedia Commons.

However, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommended only in April 2015 that the number 112 be adopted as the single emergency number for the country.

According to Google, “since the numbers get listed on a user’s contact list, these get  transferred accordingly to the contacts on any new device”.

Google was yet to comment on the new development.

Meanwhile, French security expert that goes by the name of Elliot Alderson and has been at the core of the entire Aadhaar controversy, tweeted on Saturday: “I just found something interesting. I will probably do full disclosure tomorrow”.

“I’m digging into the code of the @Google SetupWizard app and I found that”.

“As far as I can see this object is not used in the current code, so there is no implications. This is just a poor coding practice in term of security,” he further tweeted.

On Friday, both the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) as well as the telecom operators washed their hand of the issue.

While the telecom industry denied any role in the strange incident, the UIDAI said that he strange incident, the UIDAI said that some vested interests were trying to create “unwarranted confusion” in the public and clarified that it had not asked any manufacturer or telecom service provider to provide any such facility.

Twitter was abuzz with the new development after a huge uproar due to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Chairman R.S. Sharma’s open Aadhaar challenge to critics and hackers.

Ethical hackers exposed at least 14 personal details of the TRAI Chairman, including mobile numbers, home address, date of birth, PAN number and voter ID among others. (IANS)

Also Read: Why India Is Still Nowhere Near Securing Its Citizens’ Data?