Rooplal Marandi’s family had a ration card and it was linked with an Aadhaar as well. However, they were not able to receive rations for two months because his daughter’s fingerprints did not validate. He died of starvation, which “officials” deny. Officials claim that they had received rations, but it was not entered on their ration card! (anyone want to hazard a guess what happened to the rations they allegedly received when his daughter’s fingerprints “didn’t validate”?)

This, though is a familiar pattern. Families claiming that the person who died starved to death, the family being impoverished and there being no food in the home and officials finding any reason for the death other than starvation. In Marandi’s case, they claimed it was old age. But if there is a scarcity of food, it will always be the frail who succumb before the healthy, as in the case of 11 year old Santoshi, who survived starvation while she could still get some food at school in the mid-day meal and died in the Durga Puja holidays.

This is like saying that a person stabbed to death died because the heart stopped working. It isn’t a lie, but the heart may not have stopped working without the stabbing. The fact that the person who died did not have access to any food for a long time before succumbing cannot be overlooked.


Vidyut is a commentator on socio-political issues with a keen understanding of tech and policy. She has been observing and commenting on Aadhaar since 2010 from a perspective of human rights, democracy and technological robustness.

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