18 February 2018

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07/26/2007 INDIA

Every day hunger kills 6,000 children in India

The Catholic Church launches a new campaign against malnutrition in the country. “Freedom from Hunger” is intended to draw people’s attention to the large segment of India’s population that does not have access to enough food.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) – “It is shameful to see children die of hunger whilst the country prepares to celebrate its diamond jubilee, 60 years of independence. Some may celebrate economic growth and success, but others do not have enough to eat. Dying from malnutrition is not limited to rural areas, but takes place in urban areas as well, like India’s commercial capital of Mumbai,” said Fr Nithia Sagayam, national executive secretary of the Commission for Justice, Peace and Development of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI). He told AsiaNews that this is the paradox “of deaths from hunger in a land of plenty.”

A paradox made the more tragic by the fact that the country has stockpiles of surplus grains, which are sometimes destroyed because they were excess production.

For this reason on ‘Justice Day,’ the Sunday that follows Independence Day, the Indian Catholic Church will try to shake the conscience of Christians and non Christians alike on the inherent human right to eat. This year’s chosen theme is Freedom from Hunger.

Hunger is not a hypothetical problem but one that haunts the daily lives of millions of people in India. Just last week a six-month-old baby died from malnutrition in Goregaon a Mumbai suburb; a story like that of two seven-year-old twins—Rohit and Rohini—hospitalised as “severely malnourished.”

Their names are but a few drops in the bucket. According to a National Family Health Survey conducted between December 2005 and August 2006, more than 6,000 Indian children below the age of five years die every day from malnourishment. Moreover, India is home to 57 million (more than a third) of the world's undernourished children.

In 2001 alone, starvation deaths were reported in more than a dozen Indian states. But in July 2002 it was announced that India’s surplus stocks had reached 63 million tonnes, a world record level.

It becomes patently absurd then that in the land of plenty an estimated 440 million Indians should languish at the bottom of the country’s economic and social ladder without enough to eat.

See also

18/06/2007 INDIA
Economic boom should not be on the backs of the poorest of the poor
In an interview with AsiaNews the executive secretary of the National Commission for Justice, Peace and Development explains how India’s economic boom is often taking place on the backs of the poor, who often lose the little they have to the benefit of big corporations. The Church fights for their rights. Gandhi’s example is remembered.

16/10/2007 INDIA
Development not stopping hunger, more than 400 million Indians malnourished
The International Food Policy Research Institute shows that 40 per cent of the world’s underweight children under five live in India. Add disadvantaged groups like the poor and women who have a hard time feeding themselves and you get 400 million people. Priests and activists point the finger at corruption and bad governance.

03/03/2008 INDIA
A ‘bread and circuses’ budget
The executive secretary of the National Commission for Justice, Peace and Development criticises the 2008-2009 Budget for being too populist. Spending estimates only offer short-term solutions in view of next year’s elections, but leave hundreds of millions of people, the poor and rural communities, destitute.

26/09/2004 VATICAN
Peace possible only through solidarity of rich and poor, Pope says

23/01/2008 PAKISTAN
New communications law, new tool for censorship
A month from the elections Pakistan’s caretaker government issues an ordinance that imposes the death penalty or life in prison for cyber crimes. But the text of the law is so vague that sending a simple e-mail might be construed as a crime.

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