New Delhi: National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Tuesday issued notice to the Kerala government over alleged deaths of several infants due to malnutrition in Attappadi area of the state.
The rights panel has given six weeks time to the state government to submit a report in this regard.
According to an NHRC statement, the commission has issued a notice to Chief Secretary, Kerala after taking suo motu cognisance of an editorial which alleged that several infants died due to malnutrition in Attappadi region of Kerala, particularly in Kadambara South, Vellakulam colony and Nellippathy colony, since January last year.
Quoting the Health Department's statistics, the editorial noted that recently 23,597 people were screened in 7,565 houses in the three Panchayats of Attappadi. Of them, 496 adults, 70 pregnant women and 283 children below the age of 12 were found to be anaemic.
"Reportedly, many residents of Vellakulam colony suffer from sickle cell disease and consequently children of such parents are born under weight. They also suffer from Type-1 diabetes and Vitamin-A deficiency.
"It has also been alleged that the Attappadi region lacks better medical facilities in as much as, there is not a surgeon or anesthetist in the tribal speciality hospital and hence tribal women do not come to the hospital for delivery," the NHRC statement said.
Besides, the speciality hospital also does not have a blood bank. With the result, an ambulance has to go to the district headquarters at Palakkad, 85 km away to bring a bag of blood, it said.
The Commission has observed that the contents of the editorial, if true, raise a serious issue of violation of human rights of tribal children and mothers in the Attappadi region.